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Medicine Drum

Although it was only released back in 1997, Supernature is already being issued as a re-release by CyberOctave. It seems sort of funny to do as such when an album is still so young, but apparently it was either not released in a very large quantity the first time around, the label it was released on went kaput, or both. As a critical thinker, I have to somewhat wonder why such a relatively young release would already need to be reissued, and although I need look no further than the cover of the album (which calls it "the now classic first album"), I still find myself a bit skeptical.

I actually think that one of the main reasons behind the reissue of the disc is largely due to the role that Chris Deckker (the main man behind Medicine Drum) has played in the worldwide dance scene. After a journey to Bali and Goa in the early 90s (Goa Trance is an obvious large influence on the sound of the group), he came back and not only opened a popular club, but helped to found the hugely popular Earthdance party. Since its inception in late 1997, the worldwide dance party has grown from 22 locations and 18 countries to over 100 cities and about 50 countries last year. The proceeds raised by the global groovedown have been used to construct a new orphanage in Tibet and fund other projects.

Like many albums that have been bestowed with the "classic" rating, it really depends on individual taste when it comes right down to things. If you like ethnic-influenced trance music that has a nice injection of goa, you'll probably find yourself grooving right along with this and although it probably isn't quite as catchy as some of the stuff I've heard in the genre, it definitely moves in other directions and tries some interesting things. One of these directions is with the combination of both electronic and organic percussion to create a little less synthetic feeling dance album. Having been interested in ethnic music since a very young age, Deckker plays congas, bongos, and all kinds of other percussion instruments. Musically, he weaves those sounds (as well as Shaman's prayers and other vocal chants) in alongside the more standard trance elements (fast thumping BPMs and squiggling synth and layered 303s) for a sound that's just slightly different than what you're probably expecting.

Sure, its something that's all been done before (Muslimgauze has releases scores of albums doing the same thing in a less overtly dancy way), but it's all still very well done. Although the focus of the album is on more dancefloor oriented trance, it's a fairly well-balanced release and includes tracks like the pretty wanderings of "Alpha Return" to help break up the thumping beats a bit. So, while it's a good release, it's probably not a classic, but as always that's just my opinion.

Rating: 6.75