Album Review – POGO: STAR CHARTS

Lost in the Cinematic Groove

About seven years ago, I was a college student looking to kill some time while not studying. Clicking links on various sites to assist me in my quest of procrastination, I came upon Pogo’s “Alice” mix, a not so simple re-edit of in film audio from the Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland. It’s a dreamy little track that matches the tone of the film perfectly. The “oh’s” and “ah’s” match the innocence of Alice’s voice. The track just works. Fast forward several years, and Pogo has made quite a name for himself, remixing not only Disney films, but any spare audio he can find. It’s that talent for existing sound and original tweaks that brings us Star Charts, a solid mix of samplers, sounds, and fury to ride through the beginning of the new year.

Star Charts doesn’t ask for much of your time or attention. The latter part of that statement could be viewed as a check placed in the negative column, but it means that the album is more unobtrusive than passive. The melding of jazz, drum & bass, and modern EDM gives a sense of timelessness that offsets the samples. When tracks like “One Day with You” use tried and true “hit me” sounds known in old school hip-hop, but backs them up with light piano, you’re reminded of the potential origins of that sound. Those being, in this case, James Brown’s “The Big Payback” from the ’60s. Contemporary, yet classic all at once.

It’s not all drum loops and unknown vocals. Pogo also showcases what brought him to the dance in the first place. On the aptly titled “Hermione Mix,” he takes spells, lines, and sounds from the Harry Potter films and uses them to great effectiveness. The track encapsulates the wonder of that world and merges it with his own. It is sonically very similar to “Alice” in that way. The dreamy echoes, the chimes, and piano keys make it all so very soothing.

That said, Star Charts does a dangerous dance with repetitiveness that can make or break the experience for some. None of the songs are too long in the tooth, but in the same way that “Hermione Mix” sounds like “Alice,” “Simagism” is a doppelganger to “Bang Monkey.” They are cut from the same cloth, but at a slightly different pattern point. Their places on the album do a great job to break up any monotony, but on repeat listens, it’s hard to ignore.

Star Charts comes in smooth, and leaves the same way. If you’ve been following Pogo’s YouTube videos at all, you won’t be disappointed. Star Charts a peaceful slice of EDM. It has tranquil dance beats wrapped in vaguely familiar settings, enough to pique the interest of any film fan, and with more than enough to groove to.

Originally published on – Inyourspeakers.com (02/02/2015)

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