Album Review: The Developing – The Puzzle

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

Catalog No: TTRR011

The Developing has taken trip-hop to another level. I bet you all thought that trip-hop was dead and nothing new could come of it right? This album has just proven all you cynical skeptics wrong. The Puzzle features retro-fitted artifacts from the early 90s, giving a “stereotypical” sound to the untrained ear. Upon closer listening you discover a wide depth to the music that sinks deep into your skin. Elements of jazz and IDM are also swirled in to provide another dimension in the beat. The many sounds are layered so well that a harmonious whirr blows through the room, giving everything perfect unity.

The samples used are taken from a wide range of sources. From train horns to trying to start a car, The Developing has turned everyday sounds into symphonic accents for chilled out dance music. The use of these types of samples is nothing new but here there is a very unique character to them. I can easily see some hipsters writing this album off as a rip-off of classic 90s dance music. This is a complete misnomer. The Puzzle’s influences come from all over the spectrum and were mixed together in new ways to create something sui generis and personal. It may sound familiar but that is only your mind trying to link together what the music means to you.

The Puzzle is exactly what its name implies. There are 12 big pieces each composed of hundreds of smaller pieces. Upon each listen you will find new pieces and uncover different sounds. This is totally tuned to take the listener on a journey but only with the listener’s help. You have to be open to the idea of letting the music take you where you want to go. So rare is it that we come across music that gives us a blueprint and lets our imagination fill in the rest.

Rating: 4 Stars

Standout Track: Over Clouds


Review: Mystified – Return of Plunderman

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh167

In order to fully understand the return of Plunderman, I had to first experience the adventures of Plunderman to figure out why Plunderman came back. Adventures of Plunderman is a bunch of old vinyl recordings that are cut up and put together to make new songs. The overall vibe is very upbeat, something you could dance lightly to.

When Plunderman returns he is still in a mood to dance. Mystified uses loops to their fullest extent but at times it just feels like you’re going around in a circle. He has created a chamber for Ambient music to thrive in, sure the beats bounce off the walls but the atmosphere it creates is both upbeat and captivating. He used the same techniques as the first Plunderman, creating new music out of old tunes. It has an old-timey feel to it, like listening to old jazz records in a concert hall built in the early 1900s. The electronic beats throughout give it a modern twist and turn the songs into encore performances at a dark and chilled out club.

Standout track: Plunderman 7
Rating: 4 stars