Leon Lamont

Breakbeat Mechanic

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The people making the best drum'n'bass music in 2000 are those who've figured out that it really isn't about dancing, so there's no need to aim it at the lowest common denominator. On the American scene, most of the best drum'n'basss is coming out of Brooklyn, where hip-hop, illbient, dub, and jungle have been stewing together for years and artists like Dr. Israel, Scarab, and Roots Control have been bubbling to the surface. Leon Lamont comes from a more classical place, in that his version of drum'n'bass tends to stick to the breakbeat verities rather than drawing on multiple genres. But he's also more classical in the sense that composers like Edgard Varese and Karlheinz Stockhausen are classical: Although he never abandons the groove (the way fellow experimenters like Spring Heel Jack are wont to do), he does get pretty abstract and experimental within the confines of his rhythmic structure. If Roni Size and Datach'i got together, the result might sound like this. "Bubblegum Ape Law features a loping, mid-tempo breakbeat that chugs along under what sound like a collection of industrial sounds and an electric piano before whipping off into robotic jungle; "Illness" obliterates a brief trip-hop intro with a bracing dose of no-frills funk and, strangely, what almost sound like pizzicato strings. "Mockery" opens with maniacal laughter and then builds a slow-simmering groove around the rhythm of that laughter. It's that kind of attention to detail that makes the difference between an artist and just another beatmonger.

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