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CD REVIEW

The Backwoods: “The Backwoods”

by Arni Kristjansson

The self-titled first album from The Backwoods is the solo outing of DJ Kent, otherwise known as one half of nu-disco outfit Force of Nature.

Kent hasn’t abandoned nature completely by working solo. The album has an outdoors-y feel to it that is apparent from the beginning. Opening track “Awakening” sets the mood, perfectly combining vigorous tribal percussion and the ambient sounds of nature. What follows are quite minimal but very rewarding nu-disco tracks that draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources, such as techno, Balearic, Latin music and rock.

The album’s highlights include the hard-hitting dub-disco track “Flying Bugz”; “Breakthrough,” an uplifting collaboration with the bassist and keyboardist from Sly Mongoose; and the superb “Cloud Nine,” which sounds like a cross between Italo-disco and Blade Runner-era Vangelis. The track uses a short rhythm-guitar refrain to give it a sublime, mesmerizing feel. “Mutants” represents the only low point on the album, coming off heavy and lacking the variety and fruitful arrangements that the rest of the tracks possess.

While Force of Nature’s albums relied heavily on samples, Kent, as The Backwoods, has crafted a great album of dubbed-out, disco-inspired dance music. It’s a great record to play at any outdoor opportunity or for those moments when you just want to get lost.

The Backwoods’ album release party will be held at eleven in Nishi-Azabu on Aug. 6. For more information, visit go-to-eleven.com