MSL ()

Reviewed by Steve Gilmore on (Thursday, October 13, 2005) Rated 7.9 / 10
Category Rating
Track Structure 7
Interest 7
Melody 8
Performance 8
Lyrics 0
Enjoyment 8
Recording Quality 9
Commercial Appeal 8
Overall 7.9

Now before we get down to the dirty, let me put in my usual 'techno is not really my thing' disclaimer just so it's understood upfront that whether I like this or not is down to personal preferences - simply because most techno doesn't interest me.  It still wouldn't stop me appreciating a work of musical coherence and on that score MSL have nothing to worry about because Keep It High certainly satifies the musician in me, if not the listener.  More than anything else, I do love a sharply turned out production and MSL do that extremely well because this is a track with style and maturity that belies the relatively young age of the musicians (16 and 17 year olds to be precise).

From a genre angle, I'd say Keep It High is classic techno; lots of synth activity, an extremely propulsive rhythm track and a bassline like a nailgun - all of which should have you either twitching madly with a wild urge to dance, or pinned to the wall in amazement.  So why then, do I feel that the track somehow just misses these two essential targets?   For me there is a certain thinness of sound that material of this type absolutely demands.  I mean this stuff should be knocking you on your ass, not merely prodding a little bottom.  The cheif culprit here I fear is the drum track which is a bit too busy for its own good.  Where it should be reinforcing the central beat its off on its own practicing rolls.  The only place where it does gel is in the central, slightly slower section.

Nonetheless, as I said before, this is really not a bad track at all considering the obvious inexperience of the participants.  Had the mix been tighter and more attention paid to sound sculpture this is a track that would have turned a great many heads.  As it is, its an infectiously breezy ramble through the staples of techno and shows that - with the right material - MSL could really deliver something startling.  Certainly I would feel no regret at recommending this to anyone who likes the genre because it is a cut above most techno that I have heard lately both in terms of musical prowess and production nous.  Given that there is plenty of room for this duo to grow into, I'd say expect some big things from them.

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