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City of Dolls

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Like a less tongue-and-cheek Funkstörung or a more erratically complicated Pole, this duo from the northern reaches of Russia released its first album on Berliner Daniel Meteo's Meteomusic label. The music, composed singularly by Digital One, melds waves of dub with digital glitch-hop that surrounds, but never overruns, the boom-bap beat that vocalist Wrong uses to pace his paranoid android lyrics. Impressively, Wrong's flow is free from a looming accent, which would have upped the kitsch factor considerably. And while his words are hardly clear (truthfully, he sounds British), they are on par with most rappers working in the experimental electronic world. One amusing moment of potential hemispherical misunderstanding is the track "Hip-Hop Hype" which, whether ironic or sincere, is the least hip-hop track on the album, consisting of a sonar bleep, rattling drum'n'bass hi-hats, and a subatomic bass slide. Instrumental "But Still Nothing" catches a beat solid enough to go it alone, but this unit works best when both artists are in the mix. More hip-hop for people who don't really like hip-hop, then. Or hip-hop for those who wish to change hip-hop might be a better conclusion.

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