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The Crystal Axis Albumn Cover
Stepping out of your capsule, you survey an unexplored wilderness, fresh with opportunity and danger. The natives are restless, the natural environment astonishing, and the onset of darkness urgent. Everything is set for a great adventure. Except that, well… it isn’t.

Midnight Juggernauts have previously sent us hurtling out to the unknown edges of space, and with this album they bring us down on a new planetary frontier. Mixing the primitive with the futuristic, The Crystal Axis combines pulsing electric currents and vast harmonic grids with raw aboriginal beats and organic sounds.

Flashes of artificial arpeggios blast out and ricochet through a dark jungle of rustling rhythms and savage drumbeats. All the while exotic riffs chitter in the undergrowth, and synthetic cicadas saw into the night. Elsewhere; wafting, wavering chords explore the electronic echoes of great subterranean depths.

Midnight Juggernauts have really outdone themselves in creating a virtual biomass within this album’s soundscape. While there are a few places where they return to the vaster and more open style of their previous album, for the most part this album is a dense, claustrophobic affair. But for all the technical brilliance in creating and bringing these sounds together, none of it really speaks to me. No more than listening to the sounds of a real jungle would.

And that’s the problem here. It may sound paradoxical, but this incredible hive of sounds is simply too intangible. It’s full of wonderful imagery; yet it’s impossible to find anything within it to latch onto. I can’t find the story, the human element, amongst the mass of noise. So in the end as far as my ears are concerned it’s all just a bit of aural wankerey. I applaud the effort, but not so much the result.

5/10

Buy at Amazon.com

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As people turned away from TV and Radio, and moved to the Internet and IPods, I and many others wondered how we would find out about new music. Sure friends would notify us, and tools like Apple’s Genius helps a bit. Yet there is something disingenuous about this answer because these sources will only tell you what you already know, like deductive reasoning. The void is filled by podcasts, which give you direct access to basement producers and artists all over the world. These are my high rotation.

A State of Trance

Armin van Buuren’s ASOT was already firmly established as THE trance radio show showcasting the latest and greatest in trance tunes, but it has completely exploded in podcast form. These shows are short and sweet and great for exercise or studying. Armin talks little and is very humble when he does. This is energetic popular trance, with few vocals. Sometimes it goes darker or deeper but it stays very mainstream so you won’t ever be really challenged by this podcast, but you will never be disappointed either.

Starting out: Check out podcast 100 where listeners write in requesting their favorite track for a good feel for what the show is about.

Trance Around the World

Trance Around the World has a silly name but and awesome reputation for delivering the best melodic, uplifting, hands in the fucking air trance. This is a meaty beast, 2 hours long with the first hour being devoted to new tracks and the second a guest set. This podcast is ultimate versatility as it can be your exercise backing track, for driving or for listening at home. Like ASOT, little talking is involved and just solid tracks. Mixing is simplistic but adequate.

Start with : Episode 300 – wow what a show that was. Just an outrageous collection of tunes.

IAX

I went looking for an electro-house podcast and stumbled across this gem. To be honest I don’t know whether this really is electro-house – its just a collection of bouncy pop-dance bite-sized tunes for the kids to munch on and its the new Ritalin. Not much can be said about this monstrosity – just try it and within a few seconds you will have a big grin or a be an instant hater.

Start with : start anywhere is all madness. Pick a podcast with a tune you recognize cause I love the way he throws pop remixes all over the place.

Hospital Records Podcast

London Elektricity hosts this weekly drum&bass show featuring all the best d&b tunes he can get his mits on. Tony supports smaller artists, promotes events and just loves the scene and those who are part of it. I’m sure he would be disgusted to be on the same page as trance podcasts and possibly for good reason because this is not just energetic beats and basslines – this is a celebration of d&b culture and support of those who really listen to their electronica. Unfortunately Tony talks over all the tracks due worries about bootlegs since they are often playing unreleased material – this can get very annoying.

Start with: Episode 100, mind-blowing.

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