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MP3 DJ Creme Brulee - Red Line

A sonically layered, uptempo, engaging work of ambient electronica. Fine subway music.

13 MP3 Songs

DJ Crème Brulee''s name might be tongue-in-cheek, but his first album of electronica is as serious as a heart-attack. In "Red Line," the Chicago-based musician, a rock guitarist who recently discovered the joy of mix, has created an eclectic and astonishingly mature collection of techno, house, and ambient music.

Most of the tracks on Red Line are hybrids of the stripped-down electronic sounds of the Eighties and the processed sounds common to current pop and electronica. Bubbly needling riffs, rubbery loops, and subtlely evolving drumbeats mesh with aerie patches of sound reminiscent of New Age prince Vangelis, and the kinds of pared-down synthesizer effects-dissonant pipe noise, tinny drumbeats, distorted guitar moans-you might notice in the background of, say, a chase scene on an episode of Miami Vice. In lesser hands, this kind of experimentation might have made for an album''s work of sonic Frankensteins, but DJCB is a surgeon: each of his creatures hides its stitches beautifully.

The variety of mood that characterizes the tracks on Red Line seems to keep in line with DJCB''s desire to make an album of what he has called both "urban music" and "subway music." He paints a picture of a city (in this case, Chicago--the album''s title is borrowed from the name of a Windy City El train) that is both vibrant and dangerous. In tracks like "Addison," "Fullerton" and "Lake" we feel the thrum of a subway car rollicking over the tracks, the playful flicker of shadow and light and color through the windows, the insistent throb of a nightclub; in "North and Clybourn," the smoothest track on the album, the sultry groove of seduction. But these tracks are outnumbered by the decidedly more dissonant songs on the album-"Belmont" and "Clark and Division" and "Roosevelt" to name a few. In these, you are experiencing not the hypnotic pulse of a rave, but the anxious walk home, past stark streetlights and empty buildings and unlit alleys where God knows what could be lurking.

But don''t take my word for it. Take a listen and see for yourself.

-Mark Rader

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