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Pilgrims Of The Mind
What's Your Shrine?
Map Records

Of the many genres and subgenres that are lumped under the umbrella of electronic music, one that I haven't explored much is house. This is sort of ironic since some of my earliest exposure to electronic dance music (aside from UK/Euro synthpop) was via a stack of house records that a friend brought back from a visit with relatives in Chicago, the city that birthed the style. Since then, I've sampled from many plates - industrial dance, new beat, acid, hip-hop, techno, trance, and so on - but never developed much of a taste for the house sound.

But that's been changing recently. Visits to used record shops have seen me picking up battered vinyl copies of classics like Jack Your Body and House Nation, and recent house-influenced tracks from Patrick Lidsey, Daft Punk, Global Communication and others have been hitting my stereo quite regularily.

Which leads me to What's Your Shrine?, the debut full length release from Pilgrims Of The Mind, aka Stephane Novak. Sort of. What I mean to say is that this is not a straight-forward house record. It's more of a musical stew, with ingredients including house, dub, trip-hop, ambient, and even a bit of jazz. It moves from tracks like the slow, dubby Sandcastle, to the laid-back and jazzy Nothing Can Pull Us Apart, to the full-on dance action of My Baby Likes Rum. But even with all of Novak's genre jumping, a deep and soulful house influence seems to be a unifying factor which ensures a sense of consistancy. As a result, what could've been merely a collection of good but disconnected tracks is instead an inspired and solid album of fresh electronic groove music.

Map Records, 1027 Davie Street #608, Vancouver BC, Canada V6E 4L2.

Copyright © 1997 Greg Clow

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