Metro Area

Metro Area transports listeners into an alternate universe, where the lush sounds of Salsoul and Prelude were never overpowered by the harder sounds of hip-hop and breakbeat. Instead, it picks up where Prince and Paul Simpson left off in the mid-Eighties, crafting modern disco, with just enough modern flair to not be discounted as retro fare. Debuting in 1999 with a quirky midtempo tech stomp entitled "Atmos-phrique" (included on the album), Metro Area pioneered a new sound embraced by left-field DJs worldwide. Morgan Geist, who was already well known for his tech-laden dance tracks, used his partnership with newcomer Darshan Jesrani to up the ante on the funk quotient, exploring a mutual love for the sounds playing in New York City clubs during the late Eighties and early Nineties. Utilizing live instruments and midtempo beats, the duo's four EPs succeeded in changing the sound of house music.

As an album, however, Metro Area's material suffers. Clocking in at a DJ-friendly six minutes, featuring long intros, most of the tracks seem too long and monotonous for home listening. The four new tracks featured on the LP are as consistent as earlier material, yet still seem geared for use in a club setting. For house aficionados, this album is essential, but for the casual listener it may be a bit much.

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Dafydd McKaharay