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October 29th, 2003 Mark E. Baylis | Album Reviews
 

SYSTEMWIDE - Impurely Replied

     
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SYSTEMWIDE
SYSTEMWIDE
Impurely Replied
(BSI Records)

Never content to stay within the perimeters of traditional dub, Portland's Systemwide asked some of dub-influenced music's leading producers to further their conscious trajectory into DJ/electronica territory. BSI handed off tracks of '02's brilliant Pure and Applied and let the "versionists" go to town, without instructions or coaching. The result is the pun-titled Impurely Replied, a diverse gathering from such luminaries as J-Boogie, Rob Paine and Jah Warrior. The tracks range from housed-up club contenders (Solomonic Sound's "People of the Book" and Cosmic Rocker's "Ripe Up"), retainers of Systemwide's signature tectonic bass and contagious melodica hooks (Zion Train's "Interference"), and ambient soundscapes (Deadbeat's "Reclame"). The latter stands out, particularly compared to the disc's ultra-mellowed, down-tempo entries, and ambitiously re-channels the classic through a space-time continuum, as if contemplating disembodiment on a flotation device frozen in the void of light-speed. Twilight Circus Dub Sound System's "Eyupsultan" is a tribal opium onslaught, while J-Boogie's staccato percussion on "Crisis Time" supports Dr.Israel's lamentations. By way of a DJ mix that effortlessly bleeds one track into the next, the album maintains a surprising cohesion and flow. This isn't a mere collection of eclectic recyclings; it stands as a unified album, a necessary companion to the original, and a hint at Systemwide's direction as it reevaluates its identity.

 
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