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Elysian Fields

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Album Review

The debut Minus 8 album for Compost, Elysian Fields, decidedly moves toward the Jazzanova school of breakbeat music and away from the DJ Cam style that producer Robert Jan Meyer had offered on previous releases. By doing so, Jan Meyer lessens the breakbeat impact and infuses this album with a substantial array of jazz motifs, among them a heavy use of live instruments and the occasional use of vocalist Billie. Among the 14 songs that fill Elysian Fields, a few stand out as exceptionally amazing: "Snowblind," "Cold Fusion," and "Badman & Throbin'," all of which come near the album's conclusion. You do wonder why these highlights come so late, but no matter the reason, they make for a downright grand conclusion. On these songs, and throughout the rest of the album, Jan Meyer remains primarily in the downbeat mode, fulfilling his billing as Minus 8, a nod to his laid-back tempos. In addition to the chill-out pace, he also makes extensive use of live instruments as a complement to his breakbeats — a staple of the Compost label. Don't be surprised if many listeners mistake Elysian Fields as the debut Minus 8 album. It might as well be. Jan Meyer makes a brave yet welcome leap here toward the electronic jazz style so often associated with Compost, leaving behind much of the drum'n'bass/trip-hop that had informed his earlier releases.


Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

By the end of the '90s, Minus 8 producer Robert Jan Meyer had developed a diverse, unique style of beat-driven jazzy dance music that won him much acclaim. His late-'90s drum'n'bass-influenced recordings for Inflamable and Higher Ground had been successful, but Meyer's work for Compost took him to another level alongside similarly adventurous beatmakers as Jazzanova and the Trüby Trio. Like these producers, Meyer crossed all boundaries as Minus 8, at times making music that's jazz-inflected, other...
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Elysian Fields, Minus 8
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