P'taah

Decompressed

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Despite the resolute jazzed-up austerity of 1999's Compressed Light, Decompressed, a collection of remixes and unreleased tracks, finds Chris Brann's (Wamdue) alter ego P'Taah adopting Brazilian jazz and pop as a way of lightening his sound while keeping it highly sophisticated and full of surprises with the aid of a few collaborators. On an unreleased version of "Flying High," vocalist Terence Downs chants in Portuguese over the house-meets-bossa rhythm. On "No One, No How," remixed by the Off World Ensemble with trap kit percussion by Genoa Mungin, vocals by Kebbi Williams and saxophones by Downs take the drum'n'house vibe and skate it down into deep samba territory, with cross-faded rhythms and in-the-cut drum loops. Other remix versions are of "Compressed Light," "The Crossing," one more version each of "Flying High" and "No One, No How," Brann with help from Cube'n;Gilb'r. But the two unreleased tracks, "Panoptic" and "There's a Light Inside Your Mind," are what make this package worth the dough. "Panoptic" is just glorious with it's Dexter Gordon-styled saxophone playing a 52nd St. ballad, a slippery, skittering drum'n'bass loop, and Marita Gazman's jazzy vocal that sounds like Jobim meeting Helen Merrill and writing something especially for her voice, all of it amid a bubbling, eerie backdrop and a swinging backbeat. "There's a Light Inside Your Mind," with it's closely guarded soul-funk groove and rolling basslines, has the ultimate late-night chill-out shine; when the electric piano enters whispering over the deeply processed vocals you could swear the angels the angels were singing to you in an unknown tongue in a familiar yet wholly distant musical key. Bramm's new jazz and soul foundation has deepened and widened on Decompressed; it has become more ethereal with the addition of bossa and samba and been sweetened in the 20/20 vision of the remix world. For a change, the sequel is better than the original.

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