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  Timo Maas - Loud
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Rating: 3.5 out of 5

by Sean Meddel

First there was "Mama Konda". Then came "Dooms Night". And it looked and sounded as if Timo Maas, the wunderkind from Hanover, Germany, could do no wrong. Music for the Maases came next in the same vein as Paul Van Dyk's Vorsprung van Dyk—all Timo, all the time. Things were looking good.

Then I heard Timo live. Once. Twice. Three times. I was disappointed, for he turned out to be the typical producer-turned-DJ. Nothing was truly awful, but it was far from great. His double mixed CD, Connected, did not help boost my confidence in him as a DJ/mixer or track selector either.

So when the copy of his artist album, Loud, showed up, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I certainly wasn't expecting a full-length production with varying degrees of depth and coverage. In fact, it took a second listen before I noticed the fact that it wasn't a continuously mixed compilation.

I became intrigued. Timo Maas does "album." And he gets it mostly right.

The disc opens with "Help Me," a haunting, boppy, little piece featuring vocals by Kelis. Part nuskool and part funky house, this track has got enough hooks to warrant the substantive 1st spot on the album. A short and sweet 5 minutes later, we get "Manga," a much darker and more Maas-like production, with a big breakdown and that heavy bassline reminiscent of "Dooms Night." That is where the similarity ends, as "Manga" is not particularly memorable, despite all the samples and loops.

"Hash Driven" has to be the surprise of the album, as Timo delves into downtempo—chill out music must be the latest vogue, as even Ministry of Sound has released a chill out 2xCD. This is probably my second favorite track out of the fourteen.

Changing gears yet again, and possibly flexing the breadth of his taste and production skills, Timo teams up with MC Chickaboo and gives us "Shifter." While I enjoyed the vocal talent of Kelis, I was not particularly impressed with this track. Skipping ahead to "Hard Life" we return to the funky, broken beats for which most of us dig Timo.

And back to the vocals we go with "That's How I've Been Dancing." Not particularly outstanding, but this is easily a club-ready/top-40 friendly little choon without requiring too much digestion. Pushing forward, we won't even waste our time with the 2:26 of yet more vocal-sampled quirkiness called "We Are Nothing." There doesn't seem to be much of a point to this track, except as filler.

The two biggest highlights on Loud are "Old School Vibe" and the inclusion of the Radio Mix of "Ubik (The Breakz)". "OSV" will make you dance with that pulsating bassline, and this particular version of Ubik just reminds you how much better the other remixes were. Radio Edits—just say NO.

A few other selections, "OCB" and "Like Love," are two more numbers that are not particularly outstanding. Then the album closes on "Bad Day" as the circle completes with another down-beatish IDM track, perfect for the 6am sunrise. Overall, this is an interesting and risky step taken by Timo. Some disappointments aside, this album certainly has a decidedly broader appeal, as it ventures into both downtempo and lots and lots of vocals. It's certainly not a masterpiece, but Loud has the right balance to appeal to the masses in digestable form.

Related links

At Amazon.com

Loud from Amazon.com Loud
Track Listing:

  1. Help Me
  2. Manga
  3. Hash Driven
  4. Shifter
  5. Hard Life
  6. That's How I've Been Dancin'
  7. We Are Nothing
  8. Old School Vibes
  9. O.C.B.
  10. To Get Down
  11. Ubik (The Breaks)
  12. Like Love
  13. Caravan
  14. Bad Days

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