Sounds of the Deep reaching the surface – Mav and his much too-long-awaited album
The famous rapper Rakim would say ‘It’s been a long time’ – and he would be right to say so, or even to say ‘It’s been waaaaay too long time’, to be honest. Mischa van de Bilt aka Mav (and earlier – Maverick) is back in the game. Old-timers will surely remember him from his groundbreaking ‘Me Against the Machine’ released on Fokuz back in 2005, as well as his atmospheric and futuristic creative output found on Citrus, Red Mist, Camino Blue, Offshore, Warm Communications or KOS.MOS, Soul & Ice (to mention a few), as well as on the now defunct ASC’s Covert Operations Recordings.
What to expect from the “Sounds of the Deep” album? Well, Mav has always been doing his own thing, avoiding jumping on the bandwagon, following suit or keeping up with the Joneses and that’s why he’s been one of the most exciting guys to keep an eye (and ear!) to. To put it in a nutshell, prepare to be surprised, for Mischa’s long-awaited album is bound to amaze you with its content – you’ll have the pleasure to hear something released not too often in recent days, so, something quite innovative – and brave, even – for today’s standards.
Starting off with the light-amen-laden progressive and atmospheric “Skylines”, you’ll surely notice the airy pads, the abundance of quick-paced hi-hats and the stepping beat, making up for the dynamic quality of the track. Further, it gets only more lively; the uplifting, slightly jazzy-flavored “Jackie Styles” (featuring the sweet duo of P-Gemma and Jackie Valerie on the vocals) or the laid-back, liquid and leisurely “Open Your Mind” set a lighter mood to the album, while the mesmerizing, rolling straight-to-the-point “The Dolphin and the Bassline” offers a great classic atmospheric touch to the whole. However, that’s not all, for Mav proves also to be a really versatile artist by pursuing some more experimental side of d’n’b with the crazily-syncopated, ‘electric’ “Trigger the Rabbit” or the lush, variously-paced “Sweet Dreams” (with the voice of Jackie Valerie, again). If you’re looking for a heavy punch, fear not – the razor-sharp beat-broken “Makati Oasis” or the ‘dirty’ “Break is the Legend”, a remarkable tribute to one of the most essential elements of drum & bass music – the amen break (hence the title), full of deadly choppage, waiting to strike with uncontrollable force.
Still, while it is the first album by Mav, it is not only by Mav; in fact, the likes featured as remixers may make your head dizzy! To start with, we’ll get down with Jazzsticks’ honcho Paul SG and his lush remix of ‘Open Your Mind’, hitting the notes of subtle jazzy flavors – precisely as you might expect from him. Next stop is Hungary’s one and only Chris.Su
rendering the classic ‘Me against the Machine’ into his own razor-sharp and deep neurofunk language; an absolute masterpiece! It would be really fair to say that none of the invited guests made a bungle of their work. Did anyone say bungle? Well, it was to be Bungle, actually, and since this Brazilian supertalent is here as well, you’ll be able to enjoy his fresh, tranquil, broken-drummed remix of ‘Skylines’ – pure sweetness. The journey does not end here, for if we go further, we will hop again to a place somewhere ‘Between Heaven and the Deep Blue Sea’, but this time in a very French setting, for the one handling the beats is Naibu himself; known for his skill in creating fable-like soundscapes blended with riveting drums and mysterious, hazy backgrounds, his remix proves that he’s still got it, no doubt about it. The track has been also treated by another bigwig, bringing out the layers of vivacity tamed by Scandinavian nostalgia; if you still haven’t figured out, we’re talking about Seba, who is able to deliver a strong punch in the face with a unique subtlety like nobody else. The circle of remixers closes with ‘Makati Oasis’ revisited by the masters of techmospheric trade – the mighty Future Engineers, lending their expertise to transform the original fierce amen breaks into a smooth, overwhelming bass-machine! This is not always the rule, but in this case, big names do mean big tracks and if the words are not enough, let the music speak for itself.
To sum up, the force is strong with this one, with the audible focus on the Chef’s Special – traditional atmospheric, energetic drum & bass with a twist of contemporariness, all of this served as a finger-licking feast of ten dishes, each of a different flavor, but all of them equally exciting. “Sounds of the Deep” by Mav will surely deliver a smile on the faces of all those longing for the best time of atmospheric d’n’b, as well as satisfy those who are open to draw upon the best of classics of the genre. After all, music is a special world where both old and new can come together and coexist in harmony, and Mav’s album comes as great evidence to prove that statement.
Besides being released as a 14-track digital album, Mav’s imprint Scientific Records also releases a 12” sampler featuring the remixes by Seba, Future Engineers and Naibu. Included within the vinyl-sleeve is an album Promo CD as well as an A2-sized album cover poster to decorate your wall.