Simon Reynolds gets positive
over Timo Maas's ubiquitous remix of Azzido Da Bass's "Doom's Night". I've had "Doom's Night" for a while on compilation and it really is one of the most curious dance records in a while - much more interesting in my opinion than Mr. Oizo's "Flat Beat", the last bassy techno anthem to top the charts. Both are novelty records ("Doom's Night" has a long beatless bleepy sequence like a flying saucer landing on a house) but what has made "Doom's Night" such a success is the startling originality of its groove.
I'm not sure which is better: the bassline, somewhere between sludgy, farting techno and the acid groove of harder garage and drum and bass; or the curious beats, that are neither house-style four/four nor breakbeat-derived, but rather find a bizarre middle ground between the two, unsyncopated and yet not quite stable. I suppose in essence it's like one of those snare counter-rhthyms you find on house or techno tracks, only this time played with a kickdrum.
I was surprised that Reynolds didn't mention the Belgian techno influence to this track (both in its conflation of hardness with accessibility and its pan-genre sound) but the other less obvious comparison that immediately sprung to my mind is Max Martin - Britney-pop producer extraordinaire. Both "Doom's Night" and "Baby One More Time" or "Crazy" have that irresistible crunching bass and trudging kickdrum groove that render them hard yet poppy. I once said somewhere that if Max Martin started producing contemporary drum and bass he'd not only beat Bad Company hands down in both basslines and pop smarts, but also perhaps singlehandedly revive the scene.
I got the wrong guy and the wrong genre, but listening to "Doom's Night" I reckon I was half-right. "Doom's Night" isn't really an innovative record, and it's unlikely to be the start of a new scene. What it does do merely through its surprising success is open a space for something other than grim intensity and purism within the post-techno scene. Like UK Garage, "Doom's Night" demonstrates that chart action is not only achieved by paring down a style to its bare populist essentials (eg. Gatecrasher trance) but perhaps also by juxtaposing different sounds and ideas so that they rub up against eachother brilliantly.