Review of Yousef's album A Collection of Scars and Situations.
I can't believe I managed to convince myself I ever liked music like this.
Around the turn of the century - when infrequently I could be seen in places like The Mint Club, Space and Leicester Square's long defunct monstrosity Home (well, once anyway) - big clubs, forced hedonism and empty dance music were the order of the day. Once it all seemed harmless and invigorating, and to be honest having rejected Nu-Metal and the wimply lo-fi acoustics being pedalled by the likes of Turin Brakes, there wasn't much of an alternative.
Every month at the time the likes of Muzik, Mixmag and Jocket Slut (Which were essentially listings mags with a frosting of interviews and reviews) would offer a free covermount CD, usually a DJ mix. Occasionally these would be stunningly brilliant - I've still got somewhere a hip-hop set by De La Soul - but normally they'd end up sat in a box somewhere, before eventually being car booted.
Yousef emerged at the 2001 Muzik Awards, a Liverpool DJ who since then has built a flourishing career and now comes with the most prominent supporters imaginable in the dance music game today: Digweed, Carl Cox and Laurent Garnier to namedrop a few. Such is his status that ..Scars and Situations..even features a vocal contribution from techno legend Derrick Carter.
The problem is that it's an unbelievably dull record, one that fails on a number of levels. Firstly, it's too long, with most tracks lacking big room flourishes, vocals or noticeable drops. The pieces are with the exceptions of Fun Whore and In All My Numbers largely shapeless exercises, lacking in colour and atmospherics. And Yousef himself appears to have fallen into the classic DJ-turned-artist trap: what sounds good on Pro Tools or on a club PA doesn't often make for an ideal home listening experience.
A Collection Of Scars And Situations reminds me then of when people actually used to go out, even me. But I still can't believe I ever liked music like this.
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