April 12, 2002
Part of Bella Union's Series 7.
Variaciones Espectrales is Meat Beat Manifesto's Jack Dangers' contribution to the Series 7 collection. Per the rules of the series, the album contains seven songs recorded over the course of seven days. Neither the brevity of the album nor the time constraints of the recording process have held back Dangers' trademark studio wizardry. These seven songs are a fine addition to his storied discography. If the tracks are a bit more ambient and less fleshed-out than a formal Meat Beat Manifesto release, it doesn't keep Dangers from storming the studio left and right. Electro beeps and blips, freaky hip-hop shuffles, sci-fi sound samples, distorted, skittery beats, and bizarre breakbeats blend in the same effortless fashion as those on a Meat Beat Manifesto album. If things seem more elemental here, with fewer voice samples employed and a more chaotic feel than Actual Sounds and Voices, the music only becomes more primal, immediate, and effective in this setting. Much of Variaciones Espectrales suggests what a Luke Vibert album would sound like if Vibert dropped the cheese factor and researched the term organic. "Zxero" and "3:00 Min," in particular, suggest that Dangers is fully aware of the artists who've aped his style, and it's abundantly clear that he's one step ahead as he incorporates their innovations and derivations into his own workbook. The two songs easily see Dangers outpacing Vibert and Tom Jenkinson, his followers, as he mixes weird future dub with jazz intonations. Though Variaciones Espectrales might be too noisy to work as background music for some listeners and too experimental for the dancefloor, it's another accomplished, fascinating slice of sound/beats exploration from this consistently pioneering artist. - by Tim DiGravina, All Music Guide
Jack Dangers, musician and programmer behind the immensely influential Meat Beat Manifesto, has created a captivating and moody cauldron of sound on Variaciones Espectrales. Its signature is Dangers's remarkable knack for mixing unlikely sonic components into a beguiling whole. "No Secrets No Surprises" and "Zxero" feature busy drums, robotic bass lines, bold synthesizer whoops, and arcane sound fragments, while the syncopated drum patterns on "Short Heavies" make it unpredictable and eerie. "3:00 min" is another intriguing combination of sonic elements, including subdued vocals, saxophones, and the jazzy drum sounds that have always characterized Meat Beat Manifesto's "live" feel. The album is also rich in atmosphere. "Nano" and the aptly titled "Echo in Space" are airy and mesmerizing, yet riddled with raunchy percussion. In all, Dangers mangles the disc brilliantly with insouciant sound effects and intense processing. - Mark McCleerey