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Album Review

Working in a genre regularly slagged for ignoring the human element, Jamie Myerson proves with his 2000 release, Sky City: Lift Me Up, that there are actual people behind the beats. Drum'n'bass can sound like a cold symphony of machines, but it doesn't have to. Myerson manages a warmth and emotion rarely found outside of an LTJ Bukem record or the occasional Everything but the Girl remix, and he does so without the help of vocals aimed at the crossover market. The beats here don't venture far beyond what's already been produced, not that they're run-of-the-mill fare. What makes them special is how they mesh with the atmospherics to create a mood and draw in the listener. Lead track "Lift Me Up" is a prime example. It opens with a driving beat, joined by a simple bass progression. After the intro break (this is, after all, music meant for mixing), keyboard chords swoosh in and fade, one after the other. The light tinkling of piano and the effected strum of jazz guitar add a bit of texture to the mix. If humans could fly, it might sound like this. "New Day" relies on a similar formula, with a more intricate guitar part and more prominent bassline, gaining similar results. However, when Myerson gives guitars top billing, as on "Lemonade" and "Guitar Tune," his work smacks of bad smooth jazz instrumentals with tacked on beats. The relative low points here seem harmless when compared to such winners as "Chains That Bind," a tension-filled, beat-riddled jam vaguely reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and "Bittersweet," an achingly simple piano solo that closes the album. Further, Myerson gets much credit for his use of more organic instruments to build his sonic landscapes. Sky City: Lift Me Up is a solid outing from an experienced drum'n'bass DJ/studio wizard. Expect more great things as he continues to explore this changing genre.

Lift Me Up, Sky City
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