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Sasha “Involv3r” — Album Review

Ministry of Sound (2013)

Regularly voted as one of the most influential DJs in the world, Sasha might not be the household name that many of his fellow superstar knob-twiddlers have become during his five-year absence. But such is his esteemed reputation amongst the dance community that even his new mix-tape is one of the most hotly-anticipated releases of 2013.

Of course, Invovl3r is no ordinary compilation. Far from the thrown together series of ‘will this do’ remixes of massive club anthems that usually dominate these kinds of things, the belated follow-up to 2008’s Invol2er has clearly been slaved over as much as most DJs would over a studio effort.

Indeed, the minimal and eerie sci-fi-tinged house of “Shoot You Down” may be the only new Sasha composition on offer, but the Welshman’s fingertips are all over these twelve blissful Balearic house reworkings, all of which are weaved together seamlessly into one continuous 80-minute mix.

Of course, the cohesiveness of Involv3r is partly down to the fact that Sasha has largely avoided the big star names in favour of emerging and obscure European acts, with The xx’s “Chained,” subtly transformed here into a more percussive chill-out anthem, and Foals’ “Late Night,” which is given a ghostly deep house makeover, possibly the only numbers that could be considered mainstream.

Elsewhere, Involv3r is more preoccupied with the likes of Thermal Bear (the classic acid house pastiche of “Turn The Tide”), the UK producer who signed to Sasha’s Last Night On Earth label after winning a remix competition, Greek chillwave duo Keep Shelly In Athens on the twitchy low-key electronica of “DIY” and Danish producer Taragana Pyjarama whose opener, “Growing Forehead,” kicks off the album’s ethereal glow.

Other than James Zabiela’s “The Healing” and Blondes’ “Wine,” Involv3r is unlikely to satisfy fans of Sasha’s more progressive work. But if this is to be the end of the whole series, then it’s an undeniably smart and sophisticated finale.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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