Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
If there’s one thing that can be said about this website, it’s that we review a whole lot of music scattered across every realm and genre of the craft. It’s been awhile since we got a full-fledged, extensive dance effort, however, and in this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we have just that. The artist is Asmodelle and her newest effort is ‘Grooveatropolis.’
‘Grooveatropolis,’ or ‘Groove City,’ is a dance record that toys with house, club, and trance styles. It’s Asmodelle’s fifth studio effort, but her first dance album. She’s an award-winning Australian artist known for her instrumentals, music videos, and prowess behind a multiple keyboard synthesizer. ‘Grooveatropolis’ is one of those records that actually cites an average BPM, (Beats Per Minute) thus allowing DJ’s and club owners to cherry pick its songs based on what they need that evening or in that set.
As aforementioned, ‘Grooveatropolis’ is an extensive effort. It’s ten original songs. The songs aren’t playing around, either. They’re usually at least six minutes long, if not longer. The best way to tackle it is to touch on both the positive and negative sides of the collection. To kick us off, what is excellent about ‘Grooveatropolis’?
Since the album is such an intense effort, DJ’s will enjoy using these songs in their setlists. They’re pretty varied, though they do run into some problems that we’ll get into later. ‘If You Knew’ is a great little introduction to the style of the album, though it’s subdued and the record doesn’t really find its groove (pun intended) until the fourth track, ‘Groove Al Dente.’ Some of the earlier tracks, such as ‘Is This Just A Dream’ are worthwhile, though. That track is tame, but evocative and trance-inducing.
As ‘Groove City’ continues, the highlights of Asmodelle’s effort emerge. Perhaps one of the strongest is the powerhouse dance tune, ‘Your Storybook World.’ All of these songs would feel at home in the club, but the cinematic style of this song in particular feels inviting and eccentric. ‘I’m Fractured’ feels the same way. The spotlight track at the end of the collection is ‘Taking Chances.’ True to name, it does take more chances than the other tracks and feels like a breath of fresh air after eight tracks of shear intensity.
Right; so that is what is hot and exciting about ‘Grooveatropolis.’ What needs work? Mostly the pacing of the collection. As I expected before I even listened to the first track, the album does blend together quite a bit. I had trouble differentiating tracks after listening to it twice through and many songs felt like extensions of their predecessors. When you have an average BPM on your record, it’s hard to avoid this. There’s a reason most successful albums have a diverse range of sound.
With that said, I also don’t consider that as much of an issue as I would with a rock group or the like. This album doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a collection of interconnected songs. It’s not a woven tapestry, it’s a playlist of similar tracks with their own flairs that DJ’s can pull from. You’ll likely never hear a record like this from start to finish in a club. You’ll hear a track or two. So in that sense, the monotonous nature of a straight listen-through isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
Other than that disconnect between the songs, ‘Grooveatropolis’ is a rather good effort. My only other critique would be the lack of diverse sounds. Many of the tracks use 80% of the same elements. In the future, Asmodelle would do well to employ new sounds and instruments. I know this is difficult in this genre, but it is achievable and it’s definitely something to work toward.
For fans of dance music, club owners, or DJ’s, ‘Grooveatropolis’ will be a rewarding experience. It’ll probably be more rewarding in segments, however, since lines will blur if you take it in from beginning to end as I did. It’s a noble first foray into the genre; I hope Asmodelle continues to explore it. Check out the album and connect with her below.