Flashbulb Red Extensions of Me

Here's something Benn Jordan, aka the Flashbulb, probably doesn't want to hear anymore: he sounds a lot like Luke Vibert and Mike Paradinas. Both artists are name-checked in his thank yous, and even though he has been recording almost as long, he is very much in their vein. Red Extensions of Me could have been released seven or eight years ago and been in step with the times. It lacks a distinctive quality to raise it above its contemporaries — his beats are close to Vibert especially, and his harmonic sense aspires to the baroque feel of µ-Ziq. This is definitely music that predates two-step, thus ignoring many of the avenues travelled by drum & bass in the last several years. However, none of these criticisms should take away from Red Extensions of Me being a very enjoyable album: if you're going to have a retro sound, at least root yourself in a time where drum & bass was at its most polyrhythmic, playful and melodic. Jordan scores high on all counts. The only dull moments are in his songcraft: his occasional lyrics and use of vocal samples are half-formed, and his piano etudes are sophomoric. Nevertheless, the beatscapes are exceedingly well developed, if reliant on familiar sounding samples, his acidy synth patches are endearing, and his melodies are tuneful. (Sublight)