Howie B

Music for Babies

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

As a member of Skylab and U2's Passengers project and a producer for Björk, Howie B. has made the most of available technology, and his debut solo album is no different. Music for Babies is a laid-back trip-hop adventure featuring some effects previously unheard anywhere. The watery, understated percussion suits the title well -- the effect must be close to what music sounds like from inside the womb (and indeed, Howie's wife gave birth during the recording). The album flows too slowly for comfort, though: The first song contains five minutes of rather labored effects before second track "Cry" starts things off with a down-tempo beat and cool, high-pitched scratch effects that distort and fly off into canine frequencies at regular intervals. Elsewhere, "How to Suckie" has a trance-state mood (complete with muted trumpet and vibraphone) that conjures up the abstract feeling of Pharoah Sanders' late-'60s ethno-jazz recordings. Though Music for Babies is one step ahead of most fill-in-the-dots trip-hop, its sleepy mood is a bit too infantile.

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