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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Album Review: Cazzette - Eject Pt. 1

Album Rating: B
For all the hate electro house gets from more "cultured" electronic music fans, there's still something to be said for it. After all, it doesn't generally try (or even pretend to try) to be deep, subtle or profound, and while that displeases a lot of people it's not in and of itself a bad thing. It's made for the dancefloor, and though that might not be for everybody, the style has its own time and place. The straight four-on-the-floor beat, the kick or snare doubling over and over again until the drop, the Massive wobbles, the hint of melody before said wobbles kick in, and the jump-up-and-down fist-pump main section are all designed with the average EDM listener in mind, and it's unfair to say it's bad simply because it's made for a more general market than critically acclaimed styles like garage or IDM are. Given that, though, a lot of electro house releases fade into anonymity immediately because many songs in the genre sound too damn similar for their own good. Really, it turns into a "name game," with big-name artists releasing whatever the hell they want and, so long as they meet the minimum electro house requirements, achieving success after success. Even a dismal release can succeed if the artist is well-known enough (see Zedd's Clarity), making it difficult for an unknown artist to break through the walls between them and being recognizable. So, in short, the biggest songs, EPs, remixes, and (rarely) albums are usually released from a few artists on a handful of labels, which isn't quite the healthiest possible scenario for electro house.

That being said, Cazzette's Eject Pt. 1 is a quintessential electro house release in a world full of quintessential electro house releases. On the surface, at least, it seems like it has nothing to distance itself from the rest of the crowd. Where it does succeed, though, is with how unusually well the songs are executed. The majority of the songs on the EP are better than their genre's counterparts, a fact which will no doubt go unnoticed by the large majority of listeners who give the EP one spin, maybe listen to lead single "Beam Me Up" a few more times, and then trash it by the end of the week to make room for the next Monday's worth of releases. And, to be honest, the standard listening routine is a bit unfair for this release, which is more in-depth, better produced, and most of all more interesting than similar tunes. For example, "Beam Me Up" is as close to the zenith of pop-electro as anyone save for the most inventive producers around will reach. Its simple structure, instead of almost insulting the listener's attention to detail like most songs of its ilk, remains interesting and almost invigorating through the song's entire 6-minute run time, and it's designed almost mechanically for the average dancefloor while still being a quality song. The electro on the rest of the EP is also surprisingly well-made, with songs like "Run For Cover" and "The Rat" distancing themselves just enough from the likes of Afrojack and Nicky Romero with tempo changes and breakbeat-ish sections to prove that, hey, Cazzette might actually have come out with something almost original here.

In the end, this EP probably won't change your opinion on electro house. It's not the Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Dream Theater, or the Tupac of its genre - it's really not a revolutionary release, and for some that will be a bad thing. For others, though, this will be exactly what its genre needed - it's fresher than a lot of the expired electro today, and that may well be all it needs to succeed. What is for sure, though, is anyone going to a house concert in the near future will most likely be hearing one or two of these songs during a night of DJing - this album succeeds as far as the general standards of electro house go. However, Eject Pt. 1 goes just enough above those standards to make itself stand out, and the bit of extra effort on Cazzette's part should be lauded.

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1. On The Road (Master Intro)
2. Beam Me Up (Kill Mode) (Radio Edit)
3. Run For Cover
4. Hit Da Face
5. Cream
6. The Rat
7. Beam Me Up (Kill Mode)

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