Reviews: Carl Craig DJs


Sean Deason: Allegory & Metaphor



"Allegory & Metaphor" [150k RealAudio]


[139k RealAudio]

Sometimes the beat isn't what hypnotizes us. Detroit techno has proven that over and over again, especially in recent years with albums from Urban Tribe and Detroit Escalator Company. The latest attempt to "wrest control" from the dancefloor comes from Sean Deason, who has composed an amazing album of slowed tempos and alternate constructions for techno.

Gliding into one another almost as if they were slivers of a mix-CD, the first two songs ("Creation" and "Phunk") move abstracted beats in and around chords, which set the stage for the rest of the album. The next cut is arguably the most impressive: the title track "Allegory & Metaphor." Deason captures one of those elusive mid-range moods that are at the core of Detroit techno--the song's wailing melodies juxtaposed against hip-hop beats and wandering pianos. The title itself even suggests that techno is an ultimate reflection of life's emotional spectrum.

The next cut is "2030 AD." With a title like that you know Deason has something momentous in mind: Is it a hymn to the famous techno landmark--or is he already looking forward to life as a sexagenarian? Or maybe there's both: this subtle track seems to be wistful and forward-thinking simultaneously.

Just about every cut continues or supports the album's ethereal themes, and the only possible "exception" is actually more of an extension: "Zig," featuring Claude Young. Approaching a kind of Detroit/London/Vienna edginess, a raw and elastic bassline is an immediate and contrasting clue that opens "Zig" up for more aggressive mixes. This version never quite achieves this, but you can hear echoes of an intense techno battery throughout (Perhaps there's a mixable twin? Can we expect "Zag" on a Claude Young album?).

One can easily trace Deason's artistic development on this release--especially when "Psybadek One" and "Hiphoptrak" are cued up. Besides having one of the coolest "Amen Break" cut-ups since the theme to Pi, the former starts connecting all of the different threads and approaches Deason has experimented with before on Razorback (!K7) and Eleven Phases (Sublime). Now he's coalesced them all into a distinctive sound, we should all keep an eye on Deason and the rest of Detroit's so-called "third wave." The coming months and year are sure to be theirs.


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