Pete Miser

Camouflage Is Relative

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DJs who tour in bands aren't exactly known as the most credible sorts. Portland native and Brooklyn resident Pete Miser has hit the road with U.K. artists Dido, Faithless, and even the Cure. But before he was the token scratch-master to the stars, Miser was busying himself making some genuine hip-hop, a much-needed art form in the neglected Northwest, with his group Five Fingers of Funk. This is Miser's third record as a solo artist, and it's full of the same lightweight feel-good rap and jazz beats that inevitably draw comparisons to golden age acts like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, although the one-man-and-a-mike stance Miser keeps makes Del tha Funkee Homosapien a more accurate comparison. But if Miser lacks toughness, he makes up for it with sense of humor (not of the wacky Digital Underground sort) on "The Fall of Williamsburg," which takes an aware shot at the notorious hipster-haven Miser calls home. He also shows an awareness of his home's unique political upheaval on "Politics Schmolitics," which was recorded during a peace protest outside of his crib. Miser's success is clearly the result of smart work rather than inspired vision, musical genius, or even a crafty image. For that he seems easy to respect, although less likely to blow your mind.

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