- Sasha’s immensely long overdue album, Airdrawndagger, has been more hyped than a Tyson comeback fight. Once proclaimed the Son of God, it is clear to see why an album from such a prominent figure in Dance Music would be so drooled over, especially considering the fact that he has called upon the help of producers such as James Holden, Junkie XL & Charlie May just to name a few. Since his early origins Sasha has always been a musical DJ/Producer, preferring melodies and rhythm in his work, an approach that has given Sasha a magical aura in the rare times that he steps up to the decks. The magic has certainly rubbed off in this album, and following from impressive productions in the past like ‘Arkham Asylum’ and ‘Xpander’, his modern production work although quite different in it’s approach certainly reflects what he has achieved in his illustrious career.
After a numerous amounts of listens to this album, what will strike you is that it’s not a normal track-by-track album – more a voyage from start to finish. Mixed and produced to perfection, not one stone in the making of this album has been left unturned. So as a collective whole, this album is nothing short of brilliant. Individually, it goes a little like this:
Dremples is a short and soothing welcoming, creating the right atmosphere with simple and subtle effects. Mr. Tiddles continues the flowing vibe, with it’s eerie melody building into a momentary sweeping array of strings. Magnetic North gives the album its first beat as such with subtle synths and floating jingles, building the album slowly but ever so smoothly.
Cloud Cuckoo is a personal highlight of the album. Encompassing a slightly more up-tempo beat with a churning baseline, overridden with a looped guitar synth and elevating melodies – Pure Genius. Immortal sheds a dirtier smudge on the album with a screeching baseline and quirky drum patterns while maintaining a higher end. Fundamental provides a bigger beat with swirling effects, probably the toughest the album gets in the entire duration. Bolieroom follows in a similar fashion with some more break beats topped with twisted and tangled electro funk sounding synths building into a melodic breakdown deep into the track. Bloodlock clearly has the influence of James Holden, giving lend of his trademark roaring baselines and tingling melodies over a more traditional 4/4 time signature. Requiem takes the journey back to its roots by giving the concluding chapters of the album a break before the grand finale. Losing the drums, bringing the atmosphere levels up a notch to a climatic flow of delayed melodies to a new dawning so to speak. This is quite simply a beautiful piece of work.
Golden Arm is a more dance floor friendly piece with a pretty standard kick with hats, jumpy baseline and bouncing synths. The album concludes with the brilliant Wavy Gravy. Flowing chords with a masterful drum pattern pursued by a trademark Sasha melodic arrangement ending with exquisite strings.
Some may think this album is revolutionary. Some may think its ordinary. I think it’s neither. Quite simply put it’s a collection of beautiful music from the heart of Sasha. This album evokes very similar feelings to those you may have after one of Sasha’s memorable sets, feelings of Joy, Happiness but above all feelings that put a smile on your face. Classically trained musician, DJ and producer Tom Middleton once said in a seminar that the three key elements to a piece of music are Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. They are three key elements that are featured in abundance with Sasha’s Airdrawndagger.
01 - Dremples
02 - Mr Tiddles
03 - Magnetic North
04 - Cloud Cuckoo
05 - Immortal
06 - Fundamental
07 - Boileroom
08 - Bloodlock
09 - Requiem
10 - Golden Arm
11 - Wavy Gravy