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LABEL: BXR RELEASE DATE: March 14, 2002 GENRE: Techno, Trance
// review by Jeff

Software food... for your brain...

Mauro Picotto delivers a... well, I suppose I could call it a sequel to his masterpiece album, which he entitled "The Album". I'm not exactly sure if these are the tracks that didn't make the cut. Judging from the title though, I wouldn't shoot down that possibility.

"The Others" starts with an interesting Picotto Verdi remix of Pulsar from the previous album. After a sort of calming trance introduction, we get to hear someone spell for us. "M-A-U-R-O-P-I-C-O-T-T-O-D-J-D-J!" I wonder what that spells. Doesn't really matter though, because then we're treated to some rather wicked (yes, WICKED!) bass synth grooves that sort of follow along with the original tones of Pulsar... although sometimes it feels like a completely different song. I enjoy it, and strangely enough, it doesn't feel like it gets old, even though I secretly know it does.

Next on the docket, it's Awesome!!! However, this track is not all that exciting, and therefore not that awesome. Don't even think about finding a melodic tone here -- it's a regular beat mashed up with some funky computeresque sounds. You also really have to fast-forward in order to notice any significant changes in this track. I tend to skip over it, unless I'm interested in NOT hearing something awesome.

The song Hong Kong follows, and it too begins with a trancy introduction. I'll admit that it reminds me of "Awesome!!!" in a certain way, but the beat is not quite as uniform as the previous track...at least not for a while. It's also a bit more gritty, and I'm all for rough beats, yes. Eventually, you can hear where the inspiration for the title comes from, although it's difficult to explain without hearing it. I swear someone is saying the word "pussy" in the background later on. That's... attractive. But then the reason I like this track makes itself apparent: Mauro Picotto takes the strange instrument he uses to give it the unique feel (I don't know, a distorted bamboo flute?) and lowers the pitch. It makes for an even grittier tune, although it's not really a tune. Yet I love the new sound of the pitch change, and it makes this one more enjoyable than "Awesome!!!"

Like A Dog. Mmhmm. If anyone remembers making false thunder noises using weird sheet metal or something, they have a good idea of how this song starts. Following that is a very short but funky repeated tune with a strong synth while the sheet metal is played in the background (to the beat, no less -- no, it's not just random thunder). Don't play this song at a high volume; that sheet metal thing will give people headaches. I like this, but not when it's shattering my ossicles.

The next tune gives us a look into the future. "Software food... for your brain..." is the message we get. And with good reason too: nothing beats delicious computer programs to get the brain functions going! The voice effect that delivers this message is probably the key to this song. Aside from perhaps a strained tune closer to the end, there is nothing particularly spectacular about this song unless you are a big fan of computer-like vocals telling you what food you should eat.

Mauro Picotto also delivers his personal remix of Joy Kitikonti's Joyenergizer. The original wasn't so great, and this remix suffers as a result of this. If you have poor source material, the end result will also be of poor quality. That's the rule. "Joyenergizer" plays around with the tempo of a squelchy sound, but it's not particularly danceable and sounds like belongs on some acid trance CD. I will admit that sometimes it's nice to spice things up, but unfortunately, this is not the track to use.

But now we come to the reason why this album is cool: Back To Cali. It sometimes feels like the black sheep of the album, where it does not follow the style of ANY of the other tracks. It focuses more on the simple trance-like harmony, rather than the Italian techno beats that has defined Mauro Picotto's music. Frankly, the beat is just like the others, but as I said, that is not the focus of the track at all. "Back To Cali" is absolutely more ear-friendly (and radio-friendly, as this became one of the singles from the album), and is without a doubt my personal favourite song of the bunch. The tune has a light and somewhat airy feel to it; it's not complicated, but it certainly has the power to lift one's spirits with its space pads in the background, and to get one's toes tapping with its plucky synth lining the forefront. If you're a fan of trance, but not Picotto's brand of "gritalian beats", then try to snag the "Back To Cali" single. 'Twould be worth your precious coins!

Following our trip to Cali is Verdi, a definite left-turn from the previous track's style. It sounds like a mixture of the first two tracks, with the bass synth making its re-entry and the pretty-much standard Picotto beat in play. Later on, the listener is treated to a bit of crazy wavy effects with a new synth, and while its immediate aesthetic purpose is fulfilled, there's really nothing amazing about it and it just makes the song longer than it needs to be.

Then there is Bangkok (perhaps the supposed sequel to "Hong Kong") which is just as uninteresting as "Awesome!!!" with the exception of when some slightly innovative composition occurs where we hear that same "distorted bamboo flute" thing from "Hong Kong" except with a different beat and perhaps with a bit more intriguing flair than before. But I still skip over this one too; it brings back memories of "Awesome!!!".

Whenever I listen to Charm, I am often reminded of lengthy car rides where nothing particularly interesting happens except on rare occasions when you see the scattered debris of a car accident or the unfortunate remains of roadkill. I have no idea why a boring vehicular adventure invokes such thoughts... but maybe it has something to do with the fact that this song is boring for the most part with occasional redeeming portions.

...and then there was Transponder. Originally a track by Megamind, one of Mauro Picotto's pseudonyms, it has somehow managed to wedge its way onto this album. This is a good thing. It has some killer bass synth that drills its way into your mind! Yes! And it DOES remind me of a transponder... sort of... if you think really hard... yeah! The key to this song lies around the half-way point when the synth slowly builds up in intensity (and volume -- beware of loud sound). The climax of the build-up is perhaps my favourite moment overall on the entire album: it's just that powerful.

Finally there is another mix of Pulsar, the Megamind Mix. This one has a nicer bassline to it, and features more elements from the original Pulsar, yet bears in common the synth-pad trance part from the other mix and the fellow who spells "MAURO PICOTTO DJ DJ" for us. However, the melody (for what it was worth) from the original version of Pulsar is back in this mix, so those who preferred the original will like this mix better.

Overall, "The Others" is an album that features a few gems scattered among far too much filler. For those who like their beats frequently dry, this album will satisfy their whims, but if you are expecting melodic sequences and all that jazz, "The Others" will surely disappoint. Those who truly can appreciate this album would be wise to check out his previous album, "The Album", to find the hits that made Mauro Picotto a worldwide name. "The Others", however, is just a small sampling of what he is really capable of producing.


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