Tassel & Naturel

Fillet of Soul

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Tassel & Naturel are a pair of French producers, championed by DJ Cam, whose take on trip-hop soul is so laid-back as to be positively narcoleptic. They lead a loose collection of studio players and are themselves capable of playing a wide variety of instruments -- Alex Tassel appears on trumpet, Fender, and drums, while Guillaume Naturel plays flute, alto, and piano -- and soloing well on them. Unfortunately, the duo are also responsible for the bland, pre-programmed beats, which are barely above elevator quality. "Worldwide," one of the few tracks with a full-time percussionist, makes a favorable impression, but Tassel and Naturel's desultory solos on fl├╝gelhorn and alto don't lift the song much higher. The highlight of the record comes at the end with "Ballad for Cam," a septet recording reminiscent of Miles Davis' mid-'60s work with meditative solos from Tassel on fl├╝gelhorn and Loic Rechard on guitar.

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