Universal Being

Holistic Rhythm

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The last Universal Being release to feature multi-instrumentalist Max Brennan, 1997's Holistic Rhythm is the album that shows that his partner, Rupert Brown, is the duo's clear musical force. Unlike previous releases by the duo, Holistic Rhythm is as single-minded as its title. All seven tracks, even relatively placid interludes like "Electric Torch," are based on hypnotic rhythm patterns that tend to -- uncommonly for this type of largely electronic music -- at least sound like they're played on live drums. The rhythms (and polyrhythms) are at the forefront of every track, played on enough different varieties of tuned African, Middle Eastern, hand, and electronic percussion instruments (even a glockenspiel manages to carry a groove at one point) to keep the proceedings from sounding too samey. Holistic Rhythm isn't the masterwork Brown's first solo album as Universal Being (1999's Elephant Fusion) would be, but wobbly, lazily psychedelic grooves like "Astral-Naut," which almost sounds like it's playing in reverse at times, are their own reward.

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