Ancient Astronauts

Into Bass and Time

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The second album by the German duo Ancient Astronauts is the kind of old-school worship that drives many projects these days; no bad thing, but it is always a bit surprising to realize how a sound that was once utterly new is now something to look back on with affection. Mixing up dance and hip-hop circa the mid-'90s in equal measure, Into Bass and Time almost feels like it could have come from San Francisco during that era. It's hardly the Invisibl Skratch Picklz, more the feeling of Spacetime Continuum and Young American Primitive shot through with a slew of non-gangsta rap of the era. Rashaan Ahmad's steady flow on "Don't Stop" is a reminder of the kind of strange but understandable position the band finds itself in -- Ahmad's rhythmic singing on the chorus is handy but not a standout -- but Akua Naru's "Last Night," if just as understated in performance, acts as a better contrast overall, not to mention a lovely chorus. The remainder of the album consists of instrumentals with chopped-up/re-used vocal samples, a familiar enough approach in keeping with the band's aesthetic but which lets the deeper textures of many songs come through. There's something to be said for calling "Anti Pop Song" an essentially full-on '70s funk instrumental, given the cycling of taste and popularity in music, but at the same time, the beauty of the swelling strings on "Worldwide," at once mournful and elegant, helps show where the real heart of the album is.

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