Paul Hardcastle

Hardcastle VII

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Keeping in the spirit of the previous six volumes in the Hardcastle/Paul Hardcastle series, albeit in a more sprawling and dancefloor-minded manner, VII is another album of lush and atmospheric electronic grooves that incorporate touches of R&B and jazz. While the previous volume drew from Kool & the Gang's"Jungle Boogie," Hardcastle builds "No Stress at All" with that band's instrumental classic "Summer Madness" as the foundation; the electronic piano intro is played with a little more lilt to it, joined by inviting horns and a tranquil, wordless vocal. "Summer Love," co-written by and featuring daughter Maxine, wouldn't be out of place on a Hed Kandi compilation or the tail-end of a Hôtel Costes mix. As usual, some of the song titles -- namely "Crystal Whisper," "Dance of the Wind," and "Stepping on Shadows" -- indicate the album's soothing new-age disposition.

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