REVIEW: X-Static Urge - "Annais" and "X-Static Urge"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

X-Static UrgeJersey's bars, pubs and other shady places have been plagued by the enigmatic Mean Little Man for some time now. He's the brains behind such alterna-rock outfits as Cinnamon Drafthouse, Misercordia, Chris Eissing and the latest creation is techno/trance duo - X-Static Urge. MLM met Megan Traley in 1998 and they've been hatching the X-Static Urge project since.

Most recently, X-Static Urge's begun to offer two EP length CDs via Beginning with a self-titled and later the Annais album, which is only a few songs shy of a full length. Already, from these two bodies of work, you can see X-Static Urge moving ahead in their vision, changing their sound subtly while still retaining the grooves they cut their teeth on together.

The duo have their own specific functions and that way this tends to lend itself well to the music, their different arrangements complementing each other well. The dual arrangement style is also working for them in the complication area as well. As Megan herself states, "A lot of electronica is overly repetitive," even going so far as to say that some trance and techno creators today are "half assed."

AnnaisAll trance and techno is, to some degree, repetitive. That's one of the key natures of the genre. But Megan and the MLM tend to use their electronic tools to open new doors and move further into new territory. The repetition is there, sure - when I'm on the floor surrounded by trance I need something to hold on to. Something that grounds me. That grounding wire is there through all of X-Static Urge's work, but then they twist it…move it along and create breaks and melodies that helps the rest of you rise and follow it along.

They also use the instruments to create sounds that haven't been done before. While some of the music tends toward floaty goa, and others towards computeresque industrial, all of the sounds that make it up are different than other past works. They're not so different that I'd go so far to say X-SU are creating something experimental to a high degree, so you can still relax and enjoy it for what it is. But this is a new creation, not a rehashed version of something you'd find already.

X-Static Urge, the first release, is solidly more floor-enhanced. With heavier rhythms and being a bit stompier, the self-titled 5 track is rife with great dancefloor grooves. It opens straight out with a percussive rhythm with the track Open Your Mind. I Love the groove of Get Me Down, a highlight track on the first release.

Meanwhile, Annais slows it down, creating a more mellow, chill-out atmosphere. It has its higher-BPM moments like The Blue, but even then it's subtler than their previous release with lighter melodies and softer rhythms and percussion. The CD has that perfect stasis that helps it lie just under perception without being lost as ambience. Another favorite is Touch. If for a moment you think you have found the ultimate diva, and there are plenty out there, hold that thought until you listen to Megan's vocals on this track.

The end result of all this, at least thus far, is that X-Static Urge is already growing in new directions just out the gate. They're doing so quickly, maturing rapidly, and as long as they keep on going they're sure to put up some interesting sounds in the air. If you're a trance/electronica dancefloor DJ, you owe yourself to look into picking these folks up for your next spin.


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