Acapulco Now!

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By 2002, Certificate 18 was breaking away from their drum'n'bass reputation and released Acapulco Now! by Mexico's Ruisort. In contrast to virtually everything else on their roster (Klute, Pilote, Sounds of Life), Ruisort produced scrubbingly clean up-tempo lounge music of the Andrea Parker and Thievery Corporation disposition, but with a hip-hop feel and affectionate little touches of abrasive breakbeats, border-town salsa, wildlife sampling, and South American hopefulness. It was an uncharacteristic and inconsistent combination. Ruisort was on firm footing for "Ipanema 5-0," which starts as chunky Landslide before a modulated blast of horns launches the song to the skies, and on worse footing for the stern, piano-laden tracks like "Walking Straight" and "Suite Caleta." A fine step forward for Certificate 18 altogether, but not quite enough of a leap.

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