. issue XXII : iv .

by barathron

. artist : black box .
. album : dreamland .
. year : 1990
. label : rca .
. grade : b .


Dreamland is just a bunch of House — house music, that is — at the height of its popularity: sampling and legal troubles. Black Box, an Italian house music collective with a penchant for electronic beats and plagiarism, produced its first album, Dreamland, in the 1990’s, amidst legal battles of copyright infringement. But in spite of all that, the album turned out all right. This nine-track dance-fest was very much of the times; with its punchy beats and its Bez-like attitude, its main goal was to corrupt movement with a bit of soul, and the voice of Martha Wash (the initially uncredited vocalist of the group) did just the trick. The album is no groundbreaker, neither a fluid listen nor a story-teller, but the individual track-by-track quality makes it work. Each tune seems to pulsate with non-stop rhythm: Dreamland’s symbolic mood is “the party goes on.” It’s very much an album for mindless movement — party-time music without social responsibility. With dance-or-die tracks like “Ride On Time” and “Strike It Up,” it would be a risk to sit still. The overall verdict is one of vindication precisely because it’s such a dancers’ album.

Grace Aiyedogbon