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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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