• Tusken Raiders - Bantha Trax Vol.2

    Reviewed by Scot Gelinas Source: (skinny.com)

    Tusken Raiders - Bantha Trax Vol.2

    He of many monikers, Mike Paradinas, returns to his Tusken Raiders alias to put out these two new 12"s on his own Planet Mu imprint. Bantha Trax vol.2 does not resemble the original Bantha Trax released by Clear records in the least. What we have actually has more in common with Panacea and the Position Chrome crew. Yes, it is over the top, brutal dark drum and bass. And hey, to make the package complete, you get song titles like "Death" and "Ice Nine" and cover art work that looks more like Norwegian black metal than anything else. The first track, "Banthard," starts off the EP as a somewhat bland two step drum and bass track, save for the extremely dark yet amazingly funky bass line. Halfway through, it erupts into fractured Amen breaks and massive distortion. A good opener track. "Ice Nine" follows a similar line, but has a more Ray Keith/Penny Black feel to it with very dense and unsettling distortion. The secret to this track though is to focus on the melodic ambient sounds in the background. It finds it's way to the surface a couple of times evoking the familiar Mu-Ziq sound. Flip over to side two and the trouble starts. Pansy puts you directly into the cover artwork. As you walk through the dark cemetary at night, a dense fog surrounds and evelops you. All your childhood nightmares resurface a huge Amen break explodes and a zombified bass line rips you apart, and sends your heart racing a couple more b.p.m.'s faster than the beat. This get's my vote as the standout track of the four. Just a huge, huge track. Finishing up the EP is "Death." Following Pansy and with a title like that, you would think this would send you to the rubber room wrapped up like a Christmas present. But, while "Death" does not pummel you into a basket case, it does confuse you with erratic drum programming, while the bass line prods and pokes you into a dark corner until you have completely surrendered. On the Motorbike track, I am extremely disappointed. This track sounds to me like what the Chemical Brothers doing jungle would sound like. Start with a very standard two step jungle beat, add lots of overdriven acidic bass lines, throw in a cool hip-hop sample, in this case being DJ Premier off Gangstarr's Moment of Truth album. I can only hope that this sample "Y'all need to knock that shit off, that's some greedy ass fake bullshit" is inserted as an ironic message to the jungle massive to bring back originality and progress to the scene. "The Other Track" is much like an Ed Rush/Optical track, but tweaked out beyond recognition. Again with the two step beat, again with the acidic bass lines...hmmm these tracks are very similar. It is unfortunate that Mike feels the need to put out this weak dancefloor fodder considering his track record. But hey, if you need something to dance to and your on some pretty strong acid, this might be what you're looking for.

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