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  Built To Be Brought Down
Artist: Brahm
Label: Lujo Records
Length: 12 tracks/53:41 minutes

Washington, D.C.-based Brahm is basically Chaz Barber's audio vision. Mixing elements of jazz, hip-hop and indie rock, Brahm is considered an influential electronic artist.

When I hear a description such as "electronic music with beats," I kind of cringe and figure my interest will last for about five 
minutes. Let me immediately proclaim an emphatic NOT SO! with Brahm's Built To Be Brought Down.

The opening track, "Out of the Ashes of Destruction," is a study in opposites. It sounds a bit like the soundtrack from a modern horror 
movie--eerie and curious, scary and soothing. With beats of intense distortion and then mellow, drifting keyboard washes, "The Skull" 
continues this type of sound, adding distorted screaming vocals juxtaposed with a single tranquil voice (Nathan Burke) singing "Let 
the trumpet sound / no past / no compromise / all bets laid on the skull."

As the album continues, the beats are less prominent with more soundscapes. This is not to say there is no percussion--just not the 
focus of the tracks. "Wings like Razors," "The Stars In Your Hair" and "Fenn" are quite beautiful and alluring, confirming aural 
journeys. I swear that "A Chandelier of a Man" could be a trippy instrumental jam by Steve Winwood and his band Traffic in the late 
'60s.

My favorite here is the closing track, "Dad.' A lilting acoustic jazz piano backdrop with a quirky turntable/vinyl break introduces an 
electronic Hancock/Corea keyboard that swirls throughout the tune.

From looking at the entire package and from the first couple of tracks, the listener may think this is a dark and menacing project, 
but it ends up anything but that scenario. Quite deep on all levels, full of variety with the ability to carry the listener along, Brahm 
takes the audience on an aural journey from darkness to light. Investigate this project!

Bob Felberg    September 19, 2004


 
 
 
 

 

   
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