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Favorite ThisGovinda: Universal on Switch Review

Published: April 28, 2011

By: Kerry McNeil

Austin, TX producer Shane O’Madden has released his latest album, Universal On Switch, offering an exotic mix of complex, worldly electronic music, balancing glitch, trance, and sensual vocals in one unique package. Just when you think you’ve got Govinda pegged, be prepared for Shane O to switch it up and impress you even more.

Shane O explains that the inspiration for Universal On Switch came from the passing of his close friend Andrea Burden, and memories or dreams he had about her. The inspiration comes across undiluted throughout the beautifully layered tracks on the album.

The title track meshes floating, Indian-inspired violin melodies with whispered, sensual vocals and a steady, catchy beat. All the elements somehow flow together seamlessly, even when Shane O adds some wobbly electronic effects and more echoing vocal samples. The Indian and Middle Eastern flavors of the track ease in the album with a strong pulse, encouraging listeners to get lost in Govinda’s dreamy soundscapes. “Hungry,” has a similar sound, with a world music zest, mixed with glitch and choppy, soaring vocals.

“Contact,” opens with an otherworldly “Hello? There are so many illusions. Look into my eyes.” The track was inspired by a dream of Andrea, who was in the form of his daughter Bella. The vocal sample adds a unique touch to the track, and swiftly flows into more wobbly sound effects and Shane O’s soothing vocals, with lyrics relating to the inspiration behind the track. Glitchy sounds find their way into the track, adding flair and working in coordination with the beat and the vocals.

Govinda shows diversity with an accessible pop sound on tracks like “Free Now,” complete with melancholy vocals and violin-infused beats, a trance feel on “Myself,” mixed with softly airy vocals by Rosey, and playful melodies with Shane O’s catchy vocals and irresistible synths on “Angel Freezing.”

“Rumi Love Poem,” starts with a sitar melody and moves into a slowed down beat with glitchy undertones and soulful vocals by Mohammed Firoozi.

“Higher and Higher,” soars with more beautifully airy vocals by Rosey, and a soft beat that plays well with Rosey’s voice. The vocals are also mixed with wobbly effects and clips of a gun being locked and loaded. “Paint Ourselves Right In,” is like “Higher and Higher,” with the ethereal vocals of Lisa Donnelly, a wobbly beat, and violin melodies that give the track a bittersweet tone.

“I Let Go (re-thought),” closes out Universal On Switch with Indian melodies, laughter, and vocal samples from a woman, O’Madden’s glitch-wobbly sound effects blended in, and his dynamic vocals that work well with the mood of the track.

Shane O took his inspiration and created a truly masterful blend of sounds on Universal On Switch. Govinda’s skill lies in unifying tracks with many different elements that might not sound cohesive in the hands of just any producer.  The intricate details are sure to surprise fans.

Tags: DowntempoDubstepElectronicaGlitchLivetronica