XR Project


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Keyboardist Marc Cary has teamed up with vocalist Shon "Chance" Miller for a collaboration dubbed the XR Project. Mixing Cary's acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, and synthesizer sounds with Chance's hip-hop, rap, and contemporary R&B trappings, the two explore hard funk, space drift, superimposed poetry, prose, and hard-edged dance music. The excellent bassist Tarus Mateen is on the date, but there is no live drummer credited. On a limited level the group sound succeeds, especially for the instrumental numbers. "Pocket Lint" is involved, more pure musically and jammin'. A distinct Afro-Latin feel and Ron Sutton's alto sax inform the M-Base-derived "Across 125th." The modal piano of Cary on "All I Ever Wanted" sets up the closest thing to a pop song. "This Is" is more about what this is not or, according to the lyrics, "This is not a part of the formula." Touché. Actual singing during a funky tribute to Langston Hughes ("Dream Deferred") and the pretty harp-accented paean to the Harlem Renaissance ("The Res") work in context. Others pieces are a jumbled, dense, overlayed, underground labyrinthine rap-infused fusion of far too many elements. The music is not so much about the melody, and is only marginally inventive. Perhaps this sound has its audience in clubs, and it has a higher degree of artistry than most of the elements it is influenced by. Fans of Marc Cary's wonderful modern jazz recordings will want to revisit his previous efforts Focus, Listen, and Trillium, while followers of contemporary dance grooves could very easily get next to this. Buyer, be informed.

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