X-Press 2

Muzikizum

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The trio of Ashley Beedle and Rocky & Diesel keep much busier than their scattered X-Press 2 discography indicates, but the first long-player from the group -- after ten years of productions -- gives the impression that practically no time has passed since they were fresh-faced kids. Muzikizum is informed by a slim, spare aesthetic that sounds more 1992 than 2002, evoking simply produced, imperial-sounding tracks from Spooky and Leftfield; in other words, the glory days of progressive house. "Lazy," the breakout single that basically prompted the album, features David Byrne speaking and singing over a barely up-tempo house track that would've been fine in 1993, but sounds positively naked a decade later. "Angel" and "Palenque," a pair of quietly brilliant pieces in the middle, display a production team with the confidence to dismiss any worry about fitting in with the dance mainstream. Aside from Byrne, the other notable collaboration features Yello's Dieter Meier turning in a desperate, whispered vocal over some metallic tribal-house programming. Like most material evocative of a certain place in the distant past, those familiar with the precursors will find the most enjoyment out of it.

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