CD Review

Larry Kucharz – “Bridge Mix 37”

By Marcus Pan

Bridge Mix 37Another electronica album hit my desk by mixmaster Larry Kucharz recently. The Bridge Mix 37, subtitled An Assortment of Electronica, is a dub-based grouping of eleven tracks. While the series doesn't lend itself well to easy listening, there's some surprises here. It's not a put-it-on-and-play CD and seems meant for clubs who need background and dub-track mixes to lay under or over multi-spin setlists.

Nicely arranged into neat tidbits of rhythmic joy, each of the eleven tracks explores a different avenue of dub make-up and trance-centric percussion. The names all end in "37," selections like Beat 37, Dream 37 and Suite 37. These names give subtle clues as to what you'll find inside...even if you're hard pressed to find those clues after a single listen. After a few listens though names like Precinct 37 will begin to make sense, with its snare-like trappings beating out the rhythmic drones as a prisoner-like bass is held low key and down under.

Highway 37 is swifter moving and pulses down a route of drum 'n bass with muted cow bells and high-hat speed demons. Very computeresque melodies splice into the track giving visions of Kraftwerk's Autobauhn days. One of the highlights to Bridge Mix 37. Location 37 experiments with low-key piano, interesting tap-beat melodies and increases the rhythmic pulses as it goes. Like Precinct 37, the bass is very low-down and barely detectable deep inside the lower tones of the mix. You'll see this throughout Bridge Mix 37...all eleven tracks build exponentially from beginning to end, adding a little tinkle there, a light sample here.

Kucharz will mix up rhythms very often, sometimes with not great success. Street 37 for example utilizes melodic rhythms that tend to blend followed by snare trappings that will instead of command a rhythm become a mish mash of percussion. When all facets of the track – blended higher pitch melodies and fast paced snare taps together – are used for percussion there isn't much meat left to smooth out a groove. Also, Unfunky 37 will utilize a double-drum that is just, almost, off kilter causing a colliding effect rather than a groovy one (hence the name, of course). Route 37 on the other hand brings Bridge Mix 37 to a fast paced and exciting close.

As stated, this isn't your average listen pleasantly electronica album. It's intended for club creators and dub mixers, adding a little backdrop onto which you can drop almost anything. The tracks here on Bridge Mix 37 are different enough that almost anything can be sliced on top of it. Kucharz touches upon numerous genres here from techno to house, trance to hip hop. And with this much variety on Bridge Mix 37 any trance or electronica DJ would be amiss without having it in their stable for use in a set.

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