Record label: Environ
Format: 2xLP/CD
Release date: 22 October 2002

Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani (better known as Metro Area) recently stated in an article that while they've been able to travel to different countries to play live and spin records, the States haven't responded as positively. I find that somewhat difficult to believe. I was there at that Brooklyn loft party when a few hundred of us completely and totally lost it to their DJ set. The memory of it recalls the oft-sampled Madonna lyric: "Only when I'm dancing can I feel this free." And their series of singles have been insanely popular stateside. Every time one of their singles gets repressed, it inevitably reaches number one on the Groovetech US charts. So it's safe to say that anticipation for a full-length had built up to a fever pitch. Thankfully, the album does not disappoint. In fact, it surpasses your every expectation.

Sampling old funk and disco records just won't do for Geist and Jesrani. Listening to their songs is proof positive that they respect dance music's elders. They want their own musical legacy to be just as timeless, but it's not about waxing nostalgic, either. Metro Area is about moving the music forward, but they're reaching in two different directions at once to make it work. You can hear the influence of classic disco labels like West End and Prelude on their sound, as well as giving a nod to new wave and electro. At the same time, they recognize the warmth and seduction of today's deep house and techno's minimalist angle. The sounds and instruments used bring these tracks to life. Those innocent, squishy keyboard riffs on "Atmosphrique," the punchy and funky attitude of the horns and synths on "Orange Alert," the fat, meaty bass lines and rhythm guitar on "Dance Reaction," and their overall use of handclaps and various percussion…these guys just know where certain sounds should go. And those strings, THOSE STRINGS!!! It's a musical utopia, and those don't come around often.

Usually full-length dance records end up being too repetitive, but Metro Area created an album that works just as well in the home. So it's not only great dance music, it's great music in general. This one was worth waiting for.

{cali ginseng}

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