Neurepublik - "Promo 2000"
By Marcus Pan
Jeff Crowell is the creator of Neurepublik.
Another band trying to break out of the MP3.com site, he has been making
electronic music since 1987 - over a decade. Jeff's experience shows in the
musical arrangement he shows. The right breakdowns, the right sounds and
melodies, the right vocal style chosen for each of the nine tracks he burned
onto his Promo 2000 promotional release to zinesters like me.
Promo 2000 is a collection of music from Crowell's
for-sale releases, Ein War Einmal
and Electro Chakra
Therapy, the latter of which as yet unreleased. I assume that it will be an
MP3.Com DAM CD, like its EP predecessor. I do hope he includes his Bela
Lugosi's Dead cover on Electro Chakra Therapy.
Jeff's style is usually soothing and slow - a combination of
bright melodies and heavier bass rhythms. His musical arrangement skills are
apparent in tracks like I Believe in Nothing, pitting slow and smooth
bass lines together with bright piano melodies. Originally from his CD Ein
, I Believe in Nothing is a highlight to this
collection. Also here, and not appearing on any of his for-sale releases as far
as I can tell, is a wonderful electronic remake of Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's
Dead. It opens with electronic drums and also an excellent synthetic
rendition of the guitar slides that Murphy and the gang used in the original.
Regardless that this remake is purely electronic, Bela Lugosi's Dead is
excellently done and completely true to the original. The end of the soothing
beat-laden introduction is quick and sudden, and you find yourself surrounded
by keyboards, rhythms and low-tone bass that would move any dancefloor. Vocals
here are whispered and capture the vampiric nature of the song wonderfully.
Very well done!
I'm only going to highlight one more song of this collection
- track 4, Happy
. This is another tune where Jeff's arrangement is
clearly very skilled. Wind-washed vocals, a soothing bass line and even drum
track with bright keyboard melodies that float in after vocal stanzas. Samples
are placed very well and Cleese fans will love the sampling from "Monty
Python's Quest For the Holy Grail." The song is introspective and searching -
lamenting the lack of happiness that many of us feel in life. The smooth and
rhythmic movements of the arrangements are contradictory to the subject matter,
creating a stunning effect to the layout of the song. It would also go quite
well on a slower moving, near-trance dancefloor. Definitely a favorite track
I've come across in the past few months. The CD closes with remixed versions of
the two opening tracks, Way Out and The Real Me.
Neurepublik - one of my highlight finds in the big promotion
packs I get from Nocturnal Movements and also highlighted on the station of
Mike V, another Legends staff reviewer, "Hidden Sanctuary." The music is smooth
and bass heavy, rife with danceable rhythms and soothing bright keyboards.
Musical arrangement is excellent - not succumbing to the "more is better" nor
falling into the "less is more" traps. DJ's - spin a few of these morose and
rhythmic tunes over your next dance floor gig and see what happens.