Qaballah Steppers


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As the group's name indicates, Qaballah Steppers offer a sound that tends to draw most deeply on Middle Eastern and reggae influences. Imaginatrix does not depart from that tendency, nor from the generally dark and humorless ambience that is also typical of the band's albums. That darkness is often quite attractive, as it is here on the funky "Automation" (which features Bill Laswell on bass), the jungly hip-hop bounce of "Is This the End?," and the relatively (though by no means completely) lighthearted "Last Exit," which again features Laswell on bass as well as some surprisingly tasteful vocoder and the tastefully subtle turntable stylings of D.X.T.. But elsewhere the darkness is more tiresome and sometimes even just a bit oppressive. The aptly titled "Bass Failure" consists of not much more than a tedious synth beat punctuated by advancing and retreating swarms of keening string tones, while the even more aptly titled "Where Did It All Go?" is barely musical at all -- though it does lead to a very lovely hidden track. Recommended overall, despite its occasional flaws.

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