Mastered the Art


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Mastered the Art Review

by Nathan Bush

Andreas Stevens (aka Greyboy) first emerged as a DJ at the end of the 1980s. After christening Michael McFadin's Ubiquity imprint with his Greyboy 12" #1, he provided the label with one of its first full-lengths, 1994s Freestylin'. On his third outing, Mastered the Art, the DJs dusty, hip-hop beats are found mingling with the retro sounds of his extensive 8-track tape collection. Late '90s rare-groove may still be the best description but Mastered the Art's flavors include the sounds of Italian cinema, 70s easy listening and tropicalia as well. Supplying the exotica, are Greyboy Allstar multi-instrumentalist Elgin Park (guitar, piano, omnichord, sitar), and veteran jazz vibe player Dave Pike. It's plainly obvious that Steven's genre-warping concept couldn't have worked without them. "Polyphonix" mixes kitschy horns, space-age-bachelor vocals and late-night-jazz-club guitar musings. "Logan's Run" sounds like an appropriate theme song to the 1976 sci-fi film, albeit retrofitted with a modern dance beat and "Instantly" is a wonderful lopsided slice of choppy electro-funk. Greyboy embellishes such rich, stylistically confused blends with samples of hip-hop catch phrases and his own flourishes on the wheels of steel. Stevens apparently began recording instrumental material for a lack of mic-talent to work with though, by the time of these recordings, the DJs popularity on the rise, that was hardly a problem. Unfortunately however, the rap cuts by Mood's MC Mainflo disrupt the overall continuity. Still, Greyboy manages reclaim the rapper's "Ghetto Boogie" with an instrumental coda of electronic chattering and cinematic stabs over a stop-start organic beat. Though there's definitely room for improvement here, Mastered the Art provides ample evidence of Greyboy's continued growth three albums in.

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