Review: Marcus Intalex ’21’

Marcus Intalex – 21 – Soul:R

This review almost writes itself. On the one hand, there’s the journalistic clichés about ‘good things taking time’ and ‘king of collabos comes good with solo LP’ and on the other hand, Marcus’ Intalex’s 21 (which refers to his tenure in the DnB game) follows all of the rules he created in making fine, somewhat menacing liquid Drum n Bass and Breaks. As predicted, it’s these elements that make for a near flawless LP.
It’s far from predictable and it doesn’t fall in line with what it’s supposed to do, however it is does have a familiar ring to it that fans who have seen DnB mature over the years Intalex has been involved with it will warm to. Collaborators SPY, Ras Tweed, Lynx, Danny Fierce, Riya, DRS and Zed Bias all make their contributions felt but never over shadow the ship that Intalex is steering. The latter’s early contribution to 21 yields particularly impressive results with Strangeways gradually building from funky stepper, to broken breakdowns in to a full blown distorted head-tilter.
By mistake, Intalex’s cover of Radiohead’s Climbing Up The Walls played first in my ipod the first time I gave 21 a spin and as far as statements of intent go, this faithful version certainly lives up the original and matches the courage one needs to muster when going up against Thom Yorke et al.
Elsewhere, Intalex dabbles in acid breaks and liquid techno before breaking back in to DnB tempos, nodding at times to the popular half step craze but never really bowing to it. Album closers Wacky Races, Paulista Dub and Make Way are as enjoyable to listen to as they are they would be to bruk out to in a club which is by far Intalex’s biggest strength that has seen him endure so much over the years: his care for melody is as strong as his love for top shelf production. Like buddies such as Calibre, he can make even the fiercest tune somewhat delightful to listen to. It’s so rare that electronic long players – particularly ones that rely on fast tempos and a brutal bottom end – work well at home and in the club but Marcus Intalex’s 21 succeeds in this regards with flying colours.

Hear the album in mix form here:

And then buy the album here


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