Electronic duo “BioDiesel” has released a recording from their show last year at The Blockley in West Philadelphia. The results, while sticking with the core, takes listeners on a tour through the influences of drum and bass. There is a definite cohesion to the album with songs held together by the beat provided by Johnny Rabb. The first track, “Liquid,” starts off with a slow, ambient groove, gradually picking up intensity as the drums join the bass-line provided by Clay Parnell, leading up to the syncopated beat that carries throughout the recording. The glitch at the start of the second track, “Hippo Break” is abrupt, but then the electronic melody and the rhythm both pick up. From here, the recording proceeds through with solid pacing, building up the intensity, then break-beats are added to give the crowd a chance to catch their breathe and BioDiesel a chance for sonic exploration. Sampling is limited. “Liquid” uses a sample from the “angriest man in the world,” the Winnebago Man popularized on YouTube and in a documentary of the same name. “Tranzam” uses a number of pre-packaged police scanner samples. And the recording ends with another Winnebago Man sample, providing an appropriate bookend.
While largely a drum and bass sound, the recording excels when influences from other genres come out. Trip-hop influence is heard in the intro to “Powering Down,” and “Melio Tone” borrows a bit from the disco era. Jazz influences can be heard throughout, particularly on “A.M. Radio,” a nearly twenty minute stroll through a museum of electronic sounds. Aron Magner from The Disco Biscuits joins BioDiesel on keys on this track, which demonstrates experimental sounds, prominent bass rhythm, artificial space age sounds, techno, and deep synth bass sound, highlighted by Magner’s jazz improv on keys. While it may be difficult to recognize this live recording, with little crowd noise, this improvised track demonstrates that the exploration on stage is what gives life to live shows.
Review by: MK April 4th, 2012
BioDiesel will be appearing in Philadelphia on April 14th, 2012 at The Blockley.