Pure and Applied

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Pure and Applied Review

by Rick Anderson

The long-awaited full-length follow-up to 1997's Sirius LP finds Systemwide moving away from the electronica and North African influences of 2000's Osmani Stepper EP and back to their dub and reggae roots. While electronic sounds are certainly central to Systemwide's overall approach, there is much more of a "live" feel to Pure and Applied, and even when the drummer cranks things up into jungle mode, the overall vibe feels thick, dark, and slow. Bringing in champion Brooklyn toaster Dr. Israel was a brilliant move; he doesn't sound quite at the top of his game on "Crisis Time," but his lyrics and flow on the deeply dubbed-up "People of the Book" are as good as the best of his Mutant Sound System work. Other highlights include the album's opening track, an elephantine groove titled "Eyüpsultan" that features heavily compressed bass and a nice old-school piano line, and "Snipers," which combines a spacy and ethereal instrumental part with politically charged lyrics. There is also an excellent live rendition of a tune called "Valencia," which was dubbed-up on the spot by King Fader. Very highly recommended.

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