Alias Fever Dream(Anticon) Buy it from Insound
It was only when listening to Fever Dream for the final time before starting to write this review that I realised what an incredibly appropriate name it is. Whilst dreamy and ethereal in its chilled, electronic sound, the latest album by Maine-based hip-hop artist and producer Alias has a feverish element that runs throughout; an underlying feeling of unrest brought about by dark, distorted samples and some devilishly wicked beats.
The opening track, Goinswimmin, sets the mood for the album perfectly. With a triphop beat reminiscent of Melody AM / The Understanding-era Röyskopp, a slow and haunting repeated lyric “Only a fool would ignore this” and heavily reverberated instrumental samples, Goinswimmin is a powerful, atmospheric introduction. Goinswimmin runs into Wanna Let It Go, another wonderfully mysterious track that's altogether dubbier, with a synthesized riff and vocal samples that wouldn't sound out of place on a Burial album. Fever Dream briefly dabbles in more traditional instrumental hip-hop beats, before venturing off into breakbeat and more complex Four Tet-style rhythms, even moving onto Asian beats at one stage. All the while, the music maintains a chilled and enigmatic edge.
At times, Alias's obsession with repeated samples, both vocal and instrumental, becomes somewhat tedious. Lady Lambin' is a prime example of this; an agonisingly out-of-tune sample, no more than a couple of bars long, is repeated to excess, ruining what would otherwise be one of the standout tracks on the album. Boom Boom Boom and Tagine are further examples of tracks where a more reserved use of samples would have been welcome.
Fever Dream may not be the most revolutionary electronic album of the year but as a whole, it's strong, and will prove an enjoyable journey for fans of instrumental hip-hop, triphop and chillwave, as well as anyone who is partial to the occasional moment of dreamy, psychedelic dance.2 August, 2011 - 19:03 — Craig Stevens