Qaballah Steppers

Passage at Noon

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

This band has the most promising name of all time. Why? Because it intimates both serious-minded beat chemistry and exotic melodicism through the juxtaposition of Islamic and reggae terminology. Does it live up to the promise of its name? Yes, for the most part. Skip over the droning nothingness of "Black Star," the album's lead track, and jump right into the very heavy "North 8th at Noon (Obermix)," which floats breathy Middle Eastern flute over a slow hip-hop beat; that track segues into a live drum & bass workout titled "Brew," which in turn eventually slides into the old-schoolish rap of "A Thirsty Fish." On "No Room for Mine," a tabla-driven excursion in Rastafarian illbience, the band is joined by downtown guitar hero Marc Ribot, of all people. "Brooklyn Rumba" pits Dr. Israel's bouncy Rasta chat against hip-hop drums and eerie, shimmery chord washes. There's lots to hear on this album, and almost all of it is fun to listen to.

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