After releasing a string of singles for the Hotpie and Candy label and one hard to find LP on Soulciety Records, the Poets of Rhythm come correct on this long overdue worldwide release on Quannum Projects. Founded a decade ago in Munich, Germany, these innovators in the rare groove style are seven and sometimes eight musicians deep with lead vocalist/percussionist/musical director Boris "Bo Baral" Geiger; guitarist/musical director JJ Whitfield; bassist Jan Krause; organ/moog stimulator Till Sahm; alto saxophonist Malte Muller-Egloff; alto-saxophonist Wolfgang Schlick; trumpet player Treetop; and drummer Max Whitfield. After raising eyebrows on the "I Changed My Mind" single on the Quannum Spectrum recording backing up Lyrics Born and riding the wave of interest from early-21st century hip-hop fans in old-school funk and James Brown-era breakbeat, Discern/Define modernizes space jazz over big-beat, soul harmonies, and kinky guitar rhythms with psychedelic tendencies. But the luscious music aside, the overwhelming production by the Soul-Saints is what distinguishes this record from other faceless funk records put out in the '90s and the early 2000s. With earthy room sounds that compliment the organic nature of the drums and bass with just a slight hint of feedback, all the best elements of classic soul (see: You Got It Bad Girl-era Quincy Jones) and the liveliness of live hip-hop are blended together to give the record a timeless quality.
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AllMusic Review by Nic Kincaid