I had been meaning to listen to this debut album from percussion aficionado Dan Bilbrough for several weeks. At last today, I got some space in a busy life to sit back and immerse myself in his creative talents. Time well spent and space well filled.

Predominantly a collection of instrumentals carried on a percussive fusion of hip-hop, trip-hop, peppered with some ethnic beats and sounds, courtesy of a variety of talented collaborations - Raul D'Oliveira, Liz Chi Yen Liew, Saindhavi, Wilderthorn, Aessi Gunawardhana - Dan dips into different world music influences whilst maintaining a contemporary vibe. This fusion of quality musicianship, authentic sounds, and shifting moods and temper throughout the album provide an eclectic showcase for Dan's burgeoning talents.

The climbing strings and horns on the opening track 'Glory Be' are augmented by a Buckley-esq refrain from Wilderthorn, setting a contemplative, wondrous mood, that overflows into the second track, before taking a gentle turn of emotion with the pretty trip-hop 'Spiritual Soul', all sunshine and bird song... As the album unfolds you can hear the painstaking attention to detail that Dan has woven from bar to bar, and the talented contributions provide some maturity and depth, as the vibe carries the listener on a ponderous journey.

There is the feeling that there needs to be more - some tunes need more time and room to unfold: more time to exist before the shift into the next track. Then there is also the feeling that there needs to be a little less at times too. Despite some emotive and engaging ideas, the album has it's incongruent moments amongst the sequence, leaving some of the tunes around the middle feeling at times more like a collection of vignettes, rather than a part of a whole. But let not this criticism detract from the overall quality of the composing and production.

The album ends on the other one of two tracks that carries a vocal, this time from Carnatic Indian singer Saindhavi. A beautiful twisting and turning melody that rides the drum 'n' bass to an all too soon finale.

On the whole, an engaging and talented debut album. It will be interesting to see what lessons Dan has learnt on this journey that he carries forward on to his next musical adventure.

Authen-Tek is available for download at Bandcamp & iTunes.


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