NNNJ

Monkey-Straddle

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AllMusic Review by

On his debut CD, Martin Baumgartner (who records under the really inconvenient nom de plume NNNJ) wanders all over the border region that lies between dub, downtempo, instrumental hip-hop and IDM. His music is unfailingly warm and pleasant, but it never tips over into banality or cloying sweetness -- when things threaten to get too sappy, he undermines his sound with a grumpy glitch here, a clanky banjo there, and maybe an Asian stringed instrument somewhere in between, just to keep you guessing. The result is a nicely varied but consistently brilliant album of instrumental funk -- it's difficult to imagine anyone not being seduced by this disc. Highlights include the particularly funky "Goop Scoop," the particularly dubwise "Lush Lope" (complete with Augustus Pablo-style melodica), the Delta-Asian-reggae fusion of "Fiji Geesus," and the seriously off-kilter "√úberamkin," which features banjo, German spoken word found sound, and an aggressively funky bassline. There are no weak tracks. Essential.

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