sat 21/07/2018

CD: Oliver Way - From The Shadows | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Oliver Way - From The Shadows

CD: Oliver Way - From The Shadows

Detroit Grand Pubah goes solo with promising results

Eclipsing techno predictablity

There’s a regular problem with techno albums. The DJ-producers who make them are usually so deeply embedded in club techno that when it comes to making a long-form collection, leaving the dancefloor and showcasing variety, they’re incapable. What, to them, sounds like a sonic adventure, to the rest of us sounds like a series of four-to-the-floor bangers that, after a couple, grows quickly monotonous, however good they’d have sounded at 3am in strobe-strafed Belgian warehouse darkness.

Holland-living Brit Oliver Way, however, has some success evading this particular curse. Way, after all, has form in escaping techno’s straitjacket. He is one half of the Detroit Grand Pubahs, an outfit who’ve shown themselves capable of deadpan humour and tongue-in-cheek outings. His debut solo album, once it gets going, has a similar sense of adventure and relative eclecticism.

At first things don’t look good. After a very promising Damian Lazarus-like, Middle Eastern-flavoured piece, “Dust Storm”, Way settles down into the usual bosh-bosh-bosh of a night out in Belgium. However, after a moody soundtracky thing (“Calling Danny Boy”) with DJ Ben Long, he hits his stride with a juicy selection of electro, Fatboy Slim-style cut-up, the geezer-ish Underworld-like “Lucky Dip”” and “Bad Bwoy Tune”, which is a ringer for The Prodigy’s “Voodoo People”. Going even further out on a limb, “Thorpe Road” struts its ragga’n’sax stuff over the much-used bassline to Wayne Smith’s “Under Me Sleng Teng” (as heard in SL2’s rave monster “Way In My Brain”), and “Stained Glass Shadows” sounds as if it hails from another album altogether, an eight minute, Hammond-laced midnight funk jam created on trad instrumentation. The latter, a number apart, is the album’s stand-out track.

With From The Shadows Oliver Way offers a lesson to his techno peers in stylistic exploration. In doing so, he keeps things interesting and the listeners’ ears tuned in.

Overleaf: Listen to "Dust Storm" by Oliver Way, featuring Jasmin Nolan & Liam Nolan

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