October 2002 • Rockbites Alternative Daily

 • back to October 2002 index
  today’s stories •
recent news •
older news •
reviews •
Blue States release second LP for the US
22 October 2002
More songs about lushness and thought.

London based composer and multi-instrumentalist Andy Dragazis grew up in love with soundtracks and entered university as a film studies major, later switching to earn a music degree—a background which goes a long way toward explaining the retro-cinematic style of his work. He released his second full length, titled Man Mountain, under the tag Blue States in August for the UK on XL Recordings/Memphis Industries. The record, roughly half instrumental and half with female vocals courtesy of Tahita Bulmer, came out at the beginning of this month for the US on ESL with an additional track.
    Hailed by some UK critics as perhaps the most adventurous and important chill album of the year, Man Mountain comes from a man who is no fan of 'chill.' He told online zine Breaks & Beats recently, “I’m really getting pigeonholed into the downtempo genre, but I don’t really listen to a lot of chill-out music. I never really planned to make chill-out music. I suppose it’s just what happens when I sit down at the Rhodes or pick up the acoustic guitar.”
    Dragazis has a knack for layering—of musical textures, emotions, and meanings. The music on Man Mountain is deep and clear, like the legendary ocean waters around his home country of Greece—you can see all the way down if you only look.
    But there is a lot going on in these waters. In learning this LP I went through a stage where it seemed like just too much—an almost contrived complexity with key and modal changes and instrumental deus ex machina-style twists and turns (including a complete audio phase reversal on the track The Winfield Audition—whoa, dude!) that distracted from the flow. In that sense Man Mountain is reminiscent less of Ennio Morricone and John Barry, to whom Dragazis often gets compared—and more of early ’70s prog rock such as Genesis, Strawbs, and Camel. Appreciating that arcane genre took surrendering, which took trust, which took acclimation... which took lots of listens. Such a consuming process was typically aided by the ingestion of psychoactive flowers (aka Hashish)....
    The most immediate points of contemporary connection for Blue States are French synth-duo Air, Birmingham avant-gardists Broadcast, and London chill-synth duo Zero 7 (Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker). But Blue States’ musical geography ranges far and wide, also encompassing Kate Bush, Abba, and the aformentioned Camel—especially Camel’s instrumental album Music Inspired By The Snow Goose.
    Man Mountain is stark and lush and amazing. You can’t possibly see all there is here at first, and then, when you begin to, it might get a bit scary. Stick with it. These waters are beautiful. Four bites out of five.

Rockbites ratings  5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.

| Blue States | | ESL Recordings | | Memphis Industries | | CD from Amazon US | | top of page |


 back to October 2002 index
  today’s stories •
recent news •
older news •
reviews •

  click for Rockbites Home
Copyright © 1998 - 2001 M. Jason. All Rights Reserved.
Rockbites is not for profit and supports human rights.

“Rockbites” and “Alternative Daily” are service marks of Rockbites.
All names are the property of their respective owners.

Send your feedback or questions to
Send your press releases to

Rockbites Alternative Daily contact information