Soundtrack for Life

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Bascom's focus on alternately earthy and atmospheric house belies the tremendously precise production sense on display for his first full-length. Though he's closest in sound to house and the more danceable end of '90s acid jazz (Faze Action, Beanfield, A Forest Mighty Black), Bascom's fusion of the impeccably produced, the thematically complex, and the musically diverse also places him as an inheritor of Detroit techno. As such, excellent Motor City producers like Derrick May and Carl Craig are the links to a jazz-funk-lite number like "Baghdad Cafe (Callin' U)," the electro tributes "My Planet Rocks" and "Synchronicity," and the interstellar techno-jazz meditation "Pluto." The vocal tracks, with contributions from Naomi N'Sembi and Rosina, are well-spaced and not overly indulgent (occasionally a problem on dance albums). Strong, clever production skills and a feel for musical variety that never sounds forced gives Soundtrack for Life a solid base that extends its attraction beyond repeated listenings.

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