October 23, 2002

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Local Grooves
O.S.T.
Seimlste (Qlipothic)

O.S.T.'s dioramic Seimlste feels like a mindfuck. On "Ch," a hammer pounds on steel while a leaf of paper is crumpled and a finger taps percussively on a hard surface with the quickness of a horse trot. On "Mi," bells ring and echo while icy winds blow violently and unchecked. Yet all of these sounds appear to be electronic rather than natural, adding to Seimlste's industrial atmosphere, and O.S.T., otherwise known as Bay Area electronic artist Chris Douglas, weaves them into harsh, severe compositions with names such as "Fe" and "Intv," a conceit that recalls German outfit Pansonic's penchant for bizarre and unpronounceable song titles. The results are disorienting, inviting a mixture of personalization and puzzlement at the origins of Seimlste's disparate noises.

The album's mood pieces could tell any sort of narrative. It could be a wild night out carousing in the Mission District ("Mi" and its intoxicating, dublike pacing), followed by a contemplative morning spent on the beach in Pacifica ("Intv" and its waves of distortion). Or, more abstractly, tracks could represent the inner workings of a machine, a computer, or your own brain processing the varied sounds, using the imagination to structure them into your own unique story. Such is the beauty and mystery of O.S.T.'s instrumental music. (Mosi Reeves)

Dubtribe Sound System vs. Chillifunk Recordings
Heavyweight Soundclash (Shadow)

While many electronic artists fear getting pegged into one genre, these San Francisco houseketeers have never stopped delivering the dubby house sound that made them rave-scene stalwarts in the early '90s. There's nothing tough or tense about their oeuvre, where airy funk licks and pleasantly plonky melodies forever remind the listener of parties in the park and chill-out rooms.

On Heavyweight Soundclash, the Dubtribe duo of Sunshine and Moonbeam take to mixing up the catalog of U.K. house label Chillifunk, adding live percussion over the set and messing with squidgy echo effects and filters to add a more psychedelic flair to the basic 4/4 formula. The mix ends up being very heavy on the bongos and congas in the beginning (reminiscent of nothing more than those furious hippie drummers at raves), breaking into male diva vocals at the close.

Though the title is a reference to Jamaican sound system pioneers Lee Perry and King Tubby, there is little of dub's mutant bass or militant antics to be found amid this compilation's jazzy horns and sunshine grooves. In fact, there is nothing heavyweight or clashing here at all. In seeking the most smoothed-out, least edgy sound possible, Dubtribe have created a disc that could easily be background music at the dentist's office. (Vivian Host)