AUDIO + BUY IT HERE
Long lauded for his brand of "jump-up" drum 'n' bass
-- the funkiest and friendliest form of breakbeat
music -- English DJ/producer Aphrodite (a.k.a. Gavin
King) has kept fans waiting far too long for a full-length
release. Finally, their pleas are heard and their
expectations met with this ass-shaking 15-track venture,
which includes both new and classic cuts. In typical
Aphrodite style, he makes connections between all
urban music, incorporating hip-hop, jazz, techno and
funk elements into his bubbly, bass-heavy collection
of tracks, keeping the ride fresh and full of surprises.
A must-have for all hardcore and wanna-be junglists.
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Moby doesn't just sound a bit like the David Bowie
of the seventies on opening track "We Are All Made
of Stars". He also has the ability of David Bowie,
and Madonna for that matter, to pick up pieces of
and trends in the contemporary culture and make music
out of it. If his latest record "Play" in a way could
be categorised as sampled blues, "18" can be summed
up as sampled soul (as one critic has noted). This
is not a problem. "18" is a great album, full of competent,
easily listened to, tracks.
But the musicianship is maybe too competent. "Feeling
has given way to craftsmanship, for better and for
worse", my esteemed colleague Mattias Huss wrote when
Moby released "Play" three years ago. I can't but
agree. I mean, Moby obviously has the feeling - no
doubt of that. It is just that his craftsmanship sometimes
gets the better of him, making "18" into a very even
album, too even in a way. After listening to it one
time, one is left with a feeling of too many songs,
not being able to discern between them. Then, after
listening to it a couple more times, a few highlights
crystallise (like the brilliant "In This World" and
the mentioned catchy single "We Are All Made of Stars"),
but the initial feeling persists.
Maybe Moby just is too damn good for his own best
- at least in making easily listened to electronic
music, aimed at mass consumption? "18" would have
been a truly great album if Moby just would have cut
out like five songs and made it a bit edgier, less
streamlined. At least he should have thrown away his
try at hip-hop ("Jam for the Ladies") at an early
stage in the creative process. In its current form,
"18" is a cool and well made album that many people
will use as background music. Not much more.
MIGUEL MIGS "NUDE TEMPO ONE"
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Within the world of burgeoning dance music imprint
Naked Music, it's been known for some time that Miguel
Migs is the superstar. Beginning with the original
Nude Dimensions mix, Migs has captivated the spotlight
as a sonic sommelier of all things deep and sexy.
While the world waits for Migs' first artist album,
Naked offers a new mix series, Nude Tempo, with Migs
working the decks on the debut installment. The mix
does tout a stellar track listing (including "You
Bring Me Up," a taste of Migs' studio work), but Migs
fails to punctuate the set with a tangible peak. Granted,
the mellower, deep-house mixes never quite come through
on CD as they do through the system of your favorite
night spot, but Nude Tempo One does lack that obvious
You're more likely, however, to utilize this mix
as a solid home listening option, and for that, it
does just fine. Among the highlights from Migs' record
box: labelmate Blue Six juicy, organ-led "Love Yourself";
a jazzy Phonicfood remix of Discorados' "Get Down";
the tribal percussion of Ron Trent's Drum Mix of Batidos'
"Tengo Sed"; the already classic "I Can't Wait" from
Andy Caldwell ,and "Ultimate High," a sneak preview
of frequent Naked vocalist Lisa Shaw's upcoming solo
SNEAKER PIMPS BLOOD SPORT
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Bloodsport, the first American release since 1997
by Reading, England's Sneaker Pimps, finds the group
recasting itself as more children of the '80s than
'90s. When the Sneaker Pimps formed in 1995, they
were lumped in the nebulous category trip-hop -- a
false, outdated stereotype of down-tempo breakbeat.
The band's debut, Becoming X ,featured singer Kelli
Dayton, who started to overshadow the group. In response,
the Pimps' Chris Corner took over vocals, and the
group released the aptly titled import-only Splinter.
Following Splinter's more jagged, menacing footsteps,
Bloodsport strikes a median, sitting closer to latter-period
Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails than Portishead or
Tricky "Post-Modern Sleaze" has been traded for hissing
and sputtering synth-pop. Such tracks as "The Fuel"
and "Loretta Young Silks" still feature slowly loping
breaks, but for the most part Bloodsport is carried
by a snaking seductive beat and slow-burning, almost
sinister melodies that would make Dave Gahan proud.
It may not be the most ferocious boil in the blood,
but if dark electro-pop is your thing, this release
is pretty sporty.
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