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Scott Henry: Buzz: The Politics of Sound

Christine Hsieh

Scott Henry

Buzz: the Politics of Sound

Label: Ultra
US Release Date: 2001-08-21

For all the bad press the rave community has gotten over the years, very few cases rival the sensational shut-down of the Buzz club in Washington D.C. Well, perhaps the recent "crackhouse" charges against a New Orleans promoter takes the cake. Regardless, the horror stories surrounding Scott Henry's much-loved Buzz hit the newswaves several years ago on a major network's top news magazine show, splashing clich├ęd images of young ravers and various illegal substances all over television. Buzz shut down for a while, but came back to even more enthusiastic reviews and reception. Nowadays, the club is known all over the East Coast and around the country as one of the top nights around, thanks to Scott Henry's careful management and ability to pull in top talent such as Carl Cox, LTJ Bukem and John Digweed. Underneath all the glitz and hype, Henry's DJing is what holds it all together, and his keen deckmanship keeps clubbers piling in week after week. With Scott Henry Presents Buzz: The Politics of Sound, Henry packages his dark, intense progressive house and trance into a fine mixed album with depth and substance.

Right from the start, Henry establishes a somewhat somber mood with Quivver's Blissful Mix of "Crazy People" by 3 Monkeys. Packed with fuzzed out beats, soft, fluttery noises, and light echoes, this tune serves as a perfect introduction into more emotive trance. The Trisco Remix of "Freet" by Tata Box Inhibitors carries this feeling quite nicely with its fluffy trance atmospherics, soft sirens, and a buzzing synth breakdown which evolves into a heady buildup.

Unfortunately, not all the tracks on this disc measure up. Schiller's "Ruhe" gets a sugar-coated remix treatment from Humate, and ends up as a run-of-the-mill, lackluster trance-lite tune that sounds pleasant enough but lingers far too long. Memnon's "Eclipse" does the same, and its chugging beat only gets more tiresome as the seconds tick by. Utah Saints contribute their horn-heavy house hit, "Lost Vagueness", remixed by Oliver Lieb, but what starts off rather promising descends into vocodered house triteness.

Henry redeems himself with a handful of top tunes, including PQM's "You Are Sleeping", which floats a spare, swirling melodic line and a playful flute over a band of drums and disembodied vocal samples. "Big Mantra" by Groovaholic is also very nice, and this upbeat tribal house number is sure to fill dancefloors with its shuffling percussion and scattered whoops and hollers, and Praha presents Xian's "Pachinko" is a wonderful clattering techno tune with an assertive beat, lush breakdowns, and euphoric, string-heavy buildups. The last few songs on the album maintains a pleasant, peak-hour feeling. PMT's "Deeper Water" (the Sander Kleinenberg Caffeine Remix appears here) tempers harsh breaks with an ethereal vocal, Tarentella turns in "Karma", an Asian-influenced trance and glitchy electro workout, and Luzon closes with "Bagulo Track", a springy trance tune with a flexible, far-off voice.

If Buzz: The Politics of Sound is any indication of what to expect at the actual club night, then rest assured Scott Henry will be around for quite some time.

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