Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flashbaxx - new downtempo out of Germany

I'll be the first to admit, some downtempo and chillout can get stale - much of it sounds alike, much of it is a more energetic take on soundscapes. I find the best downtempo takes a little bit from many genres and sub-styles of music. Thievery Corporation is one of the best and widely known examples of how to make downtempo stand out. You hear a Thievery track and you know its Eric Hilton and Rob Garza mixing up many influences and somehow making it work. This works best when they are going for energy. When they go for pure downtempo, its simplified, working with soulful electronica and slight jazzy backdrops.

I just received a downtempo EP from Flashbaxx - an artist out of Germany whose first release's title track, Livingroom Adventures, was featured on compilations by Tosca and Jazzanova nearly five years ago. Flashbaxx is back with The Changing Tides EP - an album that is born of acid jazz, commercial soundscapes and some signature downtempo that is reminiscent of the basic Thievery chillout that brought me into this type of music.

There are other comparisons I could make (Bonobo, Lemongrass, others) but I want to stick with Thievery. Flashbaxx's Voodoo Therapy is a true chillout track that builds on intermittent piano and guitar bursts with bongos that hint at Brazilian Jazz. "Stainless" and Sand Bank continue the chillout with even more lounge-like groove. These are sit back and relax tracks that employ echo effects and interesting electronic sounds to add to any lounge ambiance.

Another side of Flasbhaxx's EP is the funk-infused Jack of all Trades The name may imply that Flashbaxx is promoting its various styles (or I may just be thinking too hard), and it certainly showcases another type of music that Flashbaxx can manipulate (for our listening delight). However, as funk guitar chops along with horns, high hats, and soulful ladies humming in the background, this is as eclectic as we're going to get. Flashbaxx's Changing Tides is a true downtempo EP that is lovely to listen to, but don't expect too much beyond the chillout and a taste of funk. This is a very promising EP for Flashbaxx, I'm going to listen to this for many moons, and await what is next to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some downtempo and other styles:

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