Rocketnumbernine

MeYouWeYou

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AllMusic Review by

Rocketnumbernine have connections to musical luminaries as bright and varied as Four Tet, Radiohead, and Steve Reid, but their own approach comes to the fore on MeYouWeYou. During the years since their debut You Reflect Me, Ben and Tom Page have honed their mix of jazz, drone, and dance music into a more streamlined version of their debut's organic combinations and collisions of sound. Even if improv is still at the heart of Rocketnumbernine's creative process, these tracks feel more purposeful and developed, with the structure and drive that were sometimes missing previously. More than ever, Tom Page's rhythms drive MeYouWeYou, and there are hints of Reid's fire and flair in his work even on relatively low-key tracks like "Lope," which serves as a warm-up for the wild and ambitious excursions that follow. The brothers' interplay is sharper and more intuitive than before, especially on the aptly named "Rotunda," where Ben Page's sympathetic electronics ricochet off of and chime with Tom's intricate beats. They borrow elements of Burial and Antibalas, and make it feel like those sounds were always meant to be together, a masterful feat of blending they recapture on "Lone Raver," where Tom Page fits flashes of jazz and rock firepower into the track's dance-based framework. While MeYouWeYou leaves out the Roseland/Metropolis collaboration with Four Tet that arrived shortly before the album's release, it does nod to Rocketnumbernine's history with Kieran Hebden more subtly with the inclusion of an eight-minute version of "Matthew and Toby," the slow-burning 14-minute house-jazz fusion that was the duo's debut single for Hebden's Text imprint. More importantly, MeYouWeYou shows that the Pages haven't just broadened where they're going musically; they also have more control over where they land. Cerebral cuts such as "Slide" and "Symposium" show that they know when to pull back to give even greater impact to free-for-alls like the alien freakout "Deadly Buzz" or "Steel Drummer," an alchemical blend of passion and precision that filters lilting Afro-jazz through rigorous electronics. All of this makes MeYouWeYou a striking, satisfying album that balances the boldness of a debut with the experience Rocketnumbernine has gained since You Reflect Me.

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