Pacific Heights

Frozen Fears (2003) manages to be epic without sounding pretentious and the result is one of the greatest-ever albums in the atmospheric drum'n'bass genre. It's glistening, shadowy, lush and psychedelic. Abrams expands the genre's palate with deft skill, incorporating 4/4 tech-house rhythms and the skittering percussion patterns of jazzy Detroit techno into the mix.

artist:
Pacific Heights

country of origin:
New Zealand

style(s):
Ambient/atmospheric drum 'n' bass, tech house, breaks, progressive

decades active:
2000's

essential releases:

  • Frozen Fears (2003, Fabel Music)

Reviewed by Mike G

Drum 'n' bass as chillout music? Actually, as d'n'b aficionados already know that an atmospheric vein has existed since pretty much since the early 90's beginnings of this uniquely British vein of electronic dance music, a genre generally identified by it's fast and stuttering breakbeats.

This blinding debut solo album from New Zealander Devin Abrams aka Pacific Heights fits well enough within the tradition of atmospheric d'n'b releases from labels like LTJ Bukem's Good Looking Records, but it could never be said to be directly aping them. Frozen Fears (2003) manages to be epic without sounding pretentious and the result is one of the greatest-ever albums in this d'n'b sub-genre. Its glistening, shadowy, lush and psychedelic. Abrams expands the genre's palate with deft skill, incorporating 4/4 tech-house rhythms and the skittering percussion patterns of jazzy Detroit techno into the mix. The track titles capture the vibe perfectly: "The Sorcerer", "Ghost Dream", "Coloured Rain". What's most striking is Abram's sense of space: it's enormous. The extended epic "Sailing Spirit" builds up an incredible emotional rush and seems to be expanding forever outwards.

Abrams has since taken his Pacific Heights project in a very different, vocal-orientated direction. But Frozen Fears shows a love of spacey textures and an understanding of tension-and-release dynamics that's mighty impressive. If the d'n'b genre is a mystery to you then here's a perfect invitation to investigate now.

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