Phon.O

Black Boulder

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AllMusic Review by

Maybe the time has come to acknowledge the fact that an awful lot of electro these days is basically a sort of easy listening music -- and that there's really nothing wrong with that. Case in point: the latest from Berlin-based artist Phon.o, which takes elements of dubstep, techno, dub, and U.K.-funky, and puts them together with a winning combination of beats-wise assertiveness and gentle persuasion. Every track may not be equally fascinating, but all are eminently listenable. Well, except maybe for one: "Hope Light" spot-welds a silly Casiotone melody onto a sillier 12/8 beat to rather goofy effect. "Yudasi" also fails to generate much interest despite its generally pretty compelling groove. But everything else is lots of dark, soft-edged fun: "Leave a Light On" and "Mosquitos" both offer an especially attractive, slippery beat (and does Tunde Olaniran sound an awful lot like Terence Trent D'Arby circa 1987?), and the very fine "Twilight" features singer Pantasz (of Bodi Bill) singing some slightly creepy lyrics over an excellent stagger-step groove. Everything else is instrumental, and suited equally well to either careful listening or playing in the background when some of your hipper friends come over for dinner.

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