T.H. White

The Private Spotlight

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Multi-instrumentalist/producer/programmer T.H. White kicks off his sophomore album, The Private Spotlight, with a phat, loping bassline surrounded by a swirl of synths, which quickly solidifies into a disco delight. A catchy chorus, insistent beats, a hint of hip-hop, a rinse of new romantic, and a fiery guitar solo, these "Private People" have it all and then some. Storming out of the velvet-roped club and into the dark urban streets, White later visits "The Loft" for another dance extravaganza, this one seemingly inspired by the theme to Mission: Impossible but remade as a blaxploitation flick, a funky workout that bleeds into techno, and even grebo, powered by the bassline and rambunctious guitar riffs. At points, the song pushes into Soup Dragons territory, a realm more deeply explored on the dappled "Life Shine," which oozes in and out of ambient -- as does "Blue+Cream," but here the chill factor is tempered by the warm glow of post-punk gloom, while scratchy post-punk guitar is played off a hip-hopish rhythm on the darkly infectious "Katie Starr of Silver." Open to myriad musical styles, White is an expert at counterpointing, blending, and smudging wildly different genres together, conjuring up numbers that brim with creativity. "The Lost Bridge" is a further case in point, a piece that begins in ambience, folds over into funk-fueled space rock, skirts around disco, then slides into electro, with the stunning synth augmented by live bass, drums, and guitar. Beyond the ferocious pull of the melodies, sublime vocals, phenomenal musicianship, and genius arrangements, there's the stunning sound of this set. Every note is clear as a bell, each lovingly polished to bring out its ultimate tone, yet there's nothing glossy about the sound, which has a wonderfully organic feel, a textured depth, and an epic quality best described by the overused term "cinematic." The swaggering dance numbers and electro pieces are positively grandiose, but if anything the effect is even greater on the quieter, evocative songs like the lilting "Can I?," the moody "Separations," the darker "Sky Lifter Sun," and the yearning "Cover Me Deeply." No matter what your pleasure, you'll find it within this magnificent set, an aural masterpiece of earthly delights.

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