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Asem Shama – MNDCTRL

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Label: Sportclub

Score: 8/10

From house to techno to shades of electro, there’s a barrage of unpredictable influences bursting out of Asem Shama’s debut LP, MNDCTRL. It’s a cumulative sound that seems as indebted to Kraftwerk as it is Berghain and electro-clash—a rare commodity in an era that’s come to practically redefine the definition of eclecticism.

The most striking part of the project – Shama’s first album in a production career that’s spanned almost 20 years – is how well it’s all woven together. Steeped in the producer’s penchant for the more light-hearted side of the coin, ‘Secret for You’ kicks things off with some grandeur.

The even more grandiose strands of ‘Blink of an Eye’ doesn’t quite move with the sort of pace its title suggests, although it too is a most welcome addition to the camp. Soon enough, the chord-littered, portentous keys of ‘Nacht Umfang Mich’ throw a real curve ball in to the mix, albeit a curve ball that the album is all the more better for.

Frantic tech-house rumblers a la ‘Reflex Research’ and ‘Rest’ ensure the album transgresses with a certain energy. In between this pair, however, lie the LP’s most formative moments, ‘Mindcontrol’ and ‘Drive’. The former goes deep, dubby and trippy (it’s here where the Kraftwerk-esque vocal rears its head), while the latter opts for a stirring, high-octane approach that like ‘Nacht Umfang Mich’ before it, is crafted with the braver DJ in mind.

Sure, there are less captivating moments here that don’t quite come off (‘Presence’ for one), but this is an LP that’s not difficult to endorse, with the standout moments serving up moments of real excellence.

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