About Damon Bell’s new EP Altered Visions, I will say that a lot of it reminds me of a step in a music maker’s process: you’ve got a loop that’s at the heart of your track, then you might record a number of long takes of you noodling with various instruments over top of said loop. But the entire take should not be included, and the track shouldn’t get stretched to fit the whole thing, which is the feeling I get from the eclectic DJ’s new EP.
The release starts with its highest card. The 10-minute opening track seems daunting at first, but the snare and then hi-hat really set it off. In a way, Bell makes this release-opener an exercise in being patient for the good stuff; he slowly adds in small piece after small piece. It takes a lot for many to choose to listen to tracks of this length, but this one’s a great soundtrack for those barely remembered nights where you find yourself thankful for whatever music happens to be playing in the background as you zone out on the couch or lean against a club’s column. The following “Ether” continues the trance with a picked-up pace, and it’s comparatively short and sweet, ending only fractionally beyond where it should.
“Altered Visions” starts out fairly interesting with its inclusion of conga hits to spice up its drum loop. After the climbing synth comes in before the half-way mark, though, the track loses all steam as the loop noticeably just keep looping with little fluctuation for another three minutes, which is the story of the album in a nutshell. The presence of some actual vocals in the first track help to keep a long track from feeling too monotonous, something Bell may need to consider more often if more of his tracks are going to remain as rarely-changing as the loops on this EP.