Concord Dawn have always seemed to be ahead of the drum and bass game, innovating and pushing the genre with each release, and in the process becoming well known here and around the world.
That innovative streak seemed to diminish a little with the departure of Evan Short (who has now returned to his metal roots with Cobra Khan and Subtract) and the last album, The Enemy Within, had more of a commercial/mainstream feel than their earlier work. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it was also the most accessible due to it's lighter feel.
The latest album, Air Chrysalis, continues on that path, managing to cater at the same time to those long time fans, and those who are looking for a polished, catchy (read radio friendly) drum and bass sound. And best of all, it's free - as long as you like their Facebook page.
There's a handful of songs that really stand out on the album, notably "One Tear" which once again features the vocal talents of Rikki Morris. His track "Forever" was the highlight from previous album The Enemy Within, so it's no surprise that this track is just as strong. It would be hard not to also mention Savage's skills on "Step ĎEm Up High", harking back to Scribe's efforts on 2003's album Get Ready, but planting the sound firmly in the now.
Those tracks are scattered throughout the album, providing counterpoints to the instrumental tracks; an effect that works well for the most part. The vocal tracks tend to be mellower, so anyone putting the album on expecting a relentless onslaught of drum and bass to get the party cranking is probably going to be somewhat disappointed; actually, anyone expecting a full on dance album is probably going to want to look elsewhere. But if it's well-crafted electronica you're after, then Air Chrysalis should be just the ticket.
Concord Dawn began life as Evan Short & Matt Harvey, bursting onto the New Zealand music scene back in mid 1999 with their unique high octane Drum and Bass sound. They were the darlings of the local bNet/Student Radio stations up and down New Zealand, getting hefty primetime airplay, featuring at the top of the weekly Top Ten's and breaking chart records across the bNet. After a year or so of underground success they were courted by local electronic music label Kog Transmissions and released their first album 'Concord Dawn' in July 2000.
After touring the album throughout New Zealand they released their second album 'Disturbance' in April 2001 and received Best Electronic Album and Best Independent Release at the 2001 bNet Music Awards. Both 'Concord Dawn' and 'Disturbance' sold far better than expected and the boys received strong reviews in all forms of media not only for their releases but also for their energetic live performances. For the next year they went into hiatus to refine the Concord Dawn sound further with Evan heading to London for 5 months to immerse himself in the culture of the Drum and Bass homeland. Upon his return to New Zealand work was started on their 3rd album Uprising with tracks like 'Morning Light' and 'Don't Tell Me' finding international acclaim well before the album's release. 'Uprising' was released in New Zealand in September 2003 and reached gold sales status in an amazing 3 months.
With Concord Dawn now well established internationally and their catalogue now being distributed worldwide Evan and Matt embarked on a seemingly never ending world tour, travelling all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. At the 2003 bNet music awards 'Morning Light' won Best Song and Most Radio Play and at the 2004 bNet music awards 'Uprising' received Best Album and Best Electronic Release. Concord Dawn were also nominated for Best Electronic Act at the 2004 New Zealand music awards but narrowly missed out to Salmonella Dub.