Ancient Astronauts - Into Bass And Time Album Review
Whenever we think of Germans and dance music the image of a guy called Rolf covered in day-glo paint and blowing a whistle springs to mind, however unfairly. Ancient Astronauts - duo Tom Strauch and Ingo Möell - are from that neck of the woods, but one listen to Into Bass and Time reveals their influences to be much more via the likes of J Dilla and Gang Starr than the throbbing techno mayhem of the Kompakt label.
Named after a concept originally suggested by bonkers Swiss writer Erick Von Daniken in his book Chariots of The Gods (Which states that we're all basically descended from a race of benevolent aliens who hung out here millions of years ago) we can exclusively reveal however that the only artefacts here belong strictly to the old-skool hip hop vibes of the twentieth century.
Strauch and Möell's gameplan may not have much appeal in terms of originality or true cutting edge, but it certainly doesn't lack any other type of ambition. Across Bass And Time's sprawling fifteen tracks they plunder soul, funk, rap, jazz and everything in between, constantly shifting the musical point of emphasis to avoid the listener getting too comfortable. Along the way a plethora of helpers rapping, scratching and laying down breaks join them - although big names are at a premium - to ensure that ideas and delivery remain suitably fresh.
Out of this smorgasbord comes good old skool rhymes (Still A Soldier, Eternal Searching), club orientated dance floor wreckers (Anti-Pop Song) and deeper, more complex joints in the style of DJ Shadow (Peace In the East, Worldwide). The best is almost last however, as Last Night finds guest vocalist Akua Naru sliding up close to Lauren Hill's peerless, smooth-as-silk delivery for the Fugees over broken, minimalist beats, whilst the following Bitter Hypnotic is equally intriguing but in a soulful, lounge-ish way.
E.T. doesn't guest on Into Bass And Time, but Ancient Astronauts do succeed in providing a close encounter or two with some quality tunes. And you won't need a towel.