Niveau Zero: Jasmine

Ad Noiseam needs so much more attention.  And we need to stop saying that because should you check every review we’ve done for the label in the past, it’s probably at the start of all of them.  It’s clear the guy’s doing something right, because most of the electronic we receive tends to be of the “suitcase noise” variety, which is the worst variety of all.  And thus far, to our recollection, nothing Ad Noiseam has sent us has been anything close to below a ‘4’, and you could probably review any album on the merits of the label name alone and be done with it, save yourself some time.  But hey, we have time, and so do you, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting at work reading this.  As a previous bassist in a few bands, mostly of the hardcore variety, French electronic blast wizard Frédéric Garcia started his craft about three years ago, releasing this next full-length last year.  Yes, we know, it’s not 2012 anymore, but we pride ourselves on reviewing generally everything that comes our way if it’s within a year, sometimes two, especially hard copies, unless it doesn’t fit our general style.  Jasmine is one of those welcome submissions as we branch out in other areas to have a wider variety of underground reviews and craziness.  If you’re looking for sick glitch, dense beats, dub, and several interesting collabs in one album, here you go.

Jasmine has ‘the’ bass, as it were.  Lots of it.  The first thing you should notice after a thorough listen is the variety of styles present here.  You could throw out terms like glitch, drum & bass, trance maybe, but the best thing is, as good albums go, it doesn’t feel like a series of separate tracks, like a compilation, it feels like a complete album with a purposeful flow.  Very nice.  “Rusty” starts it off with pulsing electronic sweeps, technological insects swarming around the speakers, accented with a sickening, dense snare.  Other tracks like “Jasmine” deal out some impressive, pounding bass hits and rapid sound waves.  Niveau Zero does a good job of balancing as well, some of the tracks are lighter approaches, and others are straight up face-ripping.  Overall, solid, just a few things to mention.

Niveau Zero has a clear control of his electronics.  Two of the collabs, the first two tracks in fact, are stellar, no question.  However, the other two collabs are where this album dips down a bit.  There is variety, and then there’s sometimes too much variety, and this would be a case of that.  When Niveau Zero is largely in control of his own destiny, it goes far, but other times it seems as if certain people were a little too involved in the process, which stagnates the beauty of his constructions.  “New Order”, for example, dips a little too directly into hip-hop, losing the dense beat structure and technological wonderment you get from other tracks.  More balance in this avenue would have been ideal, but in reviewing it we’re uncertain exactly how much of the process was solely from the artist, and how much was from those collaborating with him.  We’re going to assume perhaps too much control of the latter in this case, simply based on a basic comparison between the tracks on Jasmine written specifically by Niveau Zero, and those which include other artists.  But, as a whole, this is an excellent album, plenty of powerful beats, just a few sections you might want to skip to get to the better moments.

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Niveau Zero: Jasmine
Ad Noiseam
4 / 5