Mark de Clive-Lowe

Tide's Arising

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For his second album under his own name, New Zealand-born, London-based producer/remixer Mark de Clive-Lowe chose to go free of genre restrictions, with the result that there's not one of those catchy sub-subgenre names that the listener can use to easily categorize it. The only unifying element are the gloriously kitschy '70s-style synth interludes that fade up in between the proper songs, the best use of a vintage ARP synthesizer since Stevie Wonder's heyday. The songs themselves run from R&B slow jams like "Quintessential" (with longtime collaborator Abdul Shyllon on lead vocals) to hip-hop-influenced grooves like "Traveling," with a rap by the Roots' Capital A. Diva-girl Bembe Segue takes most of the vocals, and while she's not a particularly distinctive singer, her flirty high-register style is perfect for bubbly dance-pop beats like "Syndrome." Throughout, de Clive-Lowe's vintage synth, clavinet, and electric piano sounds provide a unifying element to the varied songs, giving Tide's Arising a musical through-line that keeps it from sounding scattershot.

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