Most of you are familiar with electronic producer Tadd Mullinix aka Dabrye as he dropped his album Three/Three earlier this year, and Rob reviewed it on the site. We can agree that album was very solid even if I loved it more than he did. Anyway, he’s got a new project for himself once again under Ghostly International called X-Altera, and what’s different about this album compared to his projects as Dabrye is that X-Altera is more focused on drum & bass and ’90s London and Detroit techno. Having heard the early single “Check Out the Bass,” it’s clear that it’s getting to that vibe he’s going for, so how’s the rest of the album?
This album really takes me back to those days when first discovering drum & bass and techno music mainly through the Need For Speed games, i.e. before Underground (with the background music set in each stage), and I admit that I instantly got into it while trying to race and not crash or get arrested playing Hot Pursuit. Anyway, the album’s production is on point as every track starts out small before progressing into a wild, outer space-like beat. It’s almost as if you’re watching a futuristic sci-fi/action movie with some unique twists of their own. The first examples of this are the 2 starter tracks: “Compound Extraprotus” and the aforementioned single “Check Out The Bass.” Another example is on “Pasco Richey Tiger,” where there’s a blend of Miami bass groove and footwork with its squeals and chanting near the halfway mark, and even though I feel like they’re saying “Big Butt” or something similar to that, it’s one of my favorite tracks on there.
It’s the same with “Impossible,” since after listening to it, the sci-fi vibe sounds like it could be used for Toonami promos in the future (and hey, it might happen since AS is tight with Ghostly). “Holotyd Neo-Optika” is one of the tracks on here that doesn’t have much percussion and is more on the ambient/spacey vibe, and I’m getting a tense distorted slasher flick sound from “Shoreline (Can’t Understand),” or at least from the beginning of it, and it transitions into something that sounds like a stage level on a Sonic game.
I’ve been saying a lot in this review that the whole album reminds me of music I often heard in past video games I’ve dabbled in and maybe even the music I hear now courtesy of watching Adult Swim/Toonami. This album has been a nostalgic experience of reminiscing on music I checked out back then and today, but this isn’t solely reliant on nostalgia or being outdated. This is genuinely dope drum & bass music that always amps up on every track, and while some tracks might sound a bit similar, it’s not too samey-sounding. I’m pleased to say that this year Tadd Mullinix, whether he’s Dabrye or X-Altera, has me pleased with his recent output, and I could say that he might have a place on my list… but which album though? Time will tell in the next half of this year, but for right now he has got me plugged into his music.
Final Verdict: Buy it. A different spin from Tadd Mullenix that worked around in his favor and worth checking out.
X-Altera is available from Ghostly International on CD, vinyl, digital download, and streaming services.
[Note: A copy of the album was provided by Ghostly International for the purpose of this review.]