Stewart Copeland

The Rhythmatist

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With the breakup of the Police, the bandmembers found themselves free to indulge their personal musical obsessions. And so while Sting made a very lucrative venture into working with jazz musicians -- a logical step for a bassist -- Stewart Copeland made a drummer's pilgrimage to Africa. Combining field recordings with Copeland's multi-instrumental work in an Assyrian studio, The Rhythmatist is light years ahead of his sophomorically amiable work as Klark Kent. The album and accompanying video didn't make much of a dent in any market, except among fellow drummers and die-hard Police fans. It's an unfortunate oversight, because its enthusiastic world music fusion has held up better than the other Police solo efforts of this period. The album as a whole focuses on (not surprisingly) the rhythm section of tastefully syncopated drums and percussion against a backdrop of atmospheric synthesizers. Ray Lema's chorused vocals over the pulsing beat of "Koteja" are absolutely hypnotic, while Copeland's dry narration after the clattering drum solo of "Serengeti Long Walk" is awkwardly endearing.

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