Days of Twang

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The Miami-based Kriztal Entertainment is closely identified with the kinder, gentler side of electronica. Kriztal releases have generally been melodic and sleek, and in some cases, they have been downright lush. Emphasizing downtempo, chillout, and trip-hop, De-Phazz' seventh album, Days of Twang (which Kriztal licensed from Phazz-a-delic in Germany and distributed in the United States) is smooth, polished, and gently funky in a way that is quite typical of albums Kriztal has released or licensed. But Days of Twang has a quirky eccentricity that sets it apart from other discs in the Kriztal catalog. During the course of the album, De-Phazz incorporates elements of everything from soul, funk, blues, jazz, and reggae, to early rock & roll, and through it all, producer Pit Baumgartner (the brains behind this German outfit) never loses his dry sense of humor. The word "humor" generally isn't used in connection with CDs that Kriztal releases or licenses, but it is definitely applicable on clever items like "Rock n' Roll Dude," "Dancing with My Hands," "Le Petit Bastard," and "Boogie Philosophy." One of the best tracks is "Devil's Music," which contains samples of early rock & roll tunes and pokes fun at the far-right Christian fundamentalists who equate all rock music with Satanism. Most of the time, Days of Twang steers clear of the harder, more aggressive side of electronica. But the exception comes at the end of the 55-minute disc with two bonus tracks: an abrasive techno remix of the tune "How High the Hat," and a drum'n'bass/jungle remix of the soul-flavored "Hell Alright." Those bonus tracks are atypical of De-Phazz and atypical of Kriztal, although they are an interesting way to conclude the enjoyable and consistently ironic Days of Twang.

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