Artist: Katalyst | Album: Manipulating Agent | Released: 2002 | Label: Invada Records | Catalog #: INVCD010 | Genre: Hip-Hop
Katalyst, the nom-de-wax of Sydney hip hop producer Ashley Anderson, first came to notice as half of Moonrock in 1998. The duo's self-titled album was a slow burning gem, a record that, without ringing or loud bells or blowing any piercing whistles, quietly became a personal fave. Following Moonrock, Anderson formed a strong association with Portishead, particularly Geoff Barrow, with whom he's started the Invada label. Manipulating Agent is its first Australian release and it's a fine start".
"Despite his friendship with Barrow (not to mention aesthetic and taste in music) and the presence of Portishead's guitarist Adrian Utley on two tracks, Manipulating Agent is only occasionally reminiscent of the Bristol outfit - "Whose Reality" and "LB on the Cut" being the most obvious examples. Katalyst likes to take things more up tempo, more often, is more funk-driven and generates a wider range of moods, while the use of Leeroy Brown on turntables adds a further dimension. In a recent interview, Anderson said that one of the reasons he's utilised Brown's skills throughout the album is to stop it from descending into elevator musak territory, a potentially serious trap for these sorts of largely abstract sample collage records. It was a gamble - there aren't many turntablist albums that stand up to repeated listening - but works due o Brown's sheer musicality on the decks and the effort Katalyst has put into integrating the scratching properly within the arrangements".
"Anderson has also kept the tempo varied throughout the album, again to avoid the musak trap, but for me its mostly the lusher down-tempo tracks - "Race Against Time", "Out Of This World" and "Cycle" to name three - that work best. As Nightmares On Wax proved with Smokers Delight, such records don't have to be bland and Katalyst has the potential to produce something equally gorgeous. With Manipulating Agent he's well on his way
02. Race Against Time
03. Out of This World
05. Whose Reality?
06. Break Up
08. Combustible [Special DeLivery Remix]
10. LB on the Cut
11. Time Bomb
12. Passing of Peace
14. Compound Interest
15. Mad Scientist