Brainlab Groove

“Volume 1” by Strikkly Vikkly review on SoundsXP (UK)

Do you ever get frustrated when a band releases a stellar debut single and then takes four or five years to follow it with a full album? Spare a thought for fans of Brazil-based dub/ambient/techno artist Srikkly Vikkly. The nom de plume of Victor Rice began as a collaboration in Manhattan back in 1998 – some of his fans might not even have been born then. He hasn’t been sat on his backside twiddling his thumbs though. Since that time Rice has been involved in many collaborations and performs live as the Strikkly Vikkly DubSystem focusing on original material, some of which has never been released, so perhaps we won’t have to wait another 16 years for Vol. 2.

In truth, this album could have been released in 1998, as it bears the hallmarks of many ’90s acts and is something of a nostalgic journey, although this is by design rather than being out of touch and there are many modern aspects scattered throughout. If you spent that decade going to large outdoor musical gatherings that may have been held without permission (that would be a rave, or “phase 2” as they were called down these parts), then many such events will have had more than one soundsystem. Perhaps a field dedicated to drum and bass, one to techno and trance, and one to more relaxed sounds such as dub, reggae and chillout. Strikkly Vikkly would likely be commanding the latter to a high standard if this set is a reflection of his live ventures (Srikkly Come Skanking?), and given that this album was largely recorded as live using analogue tape machines and plenty of effects, it probably is.

The roots of ‘Vol. 1’ can be traced back to traditional dub such as King Tubby, Errol Thompson or Augustus Pablo, but it is the aforementioned decade to which it belongs. Give a more exotic twist and remove some of the soundscapes from The Orb’s seminal ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ and you have a good reference, but elsewhere we touch on ska and reggae (a lot), downtempo techno and even big beat – but always with a heavy dub influence. It may have been a long time coming, but Rice has delivered a solid record that lacks the filler that many similar LPs of the past have included. So there’s no need for the skip button, this is a well-rounded, interesting, accomplished and enjoyable trip through sound that can be loved by both genre disciples and fans of other scenes alike.

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