Various Artists

Revenge of the Abstract Groove

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How abstract can it be and still be considered a groove, you ask? That's a good question, and it turns out that, fortunately, a groove doesn't have to be too awfully abstract to be considered just that. The music on this compilation falls more or less into the trip-hop category, though some tracks fit that description more comfortably than others. Mujaji's "Belgian Cappucino" combines loping, midtempo funk with furious scratching; "Towards the Edge," by Super Pulse features shreds of laid-back female vocals that waft like air born scraps of silk through a field of spiky computer beats and distant string samples; on "Specials" Illform lays the sampled voice of a waitress ("You wanna hear about our specials?") over a busy funky-drummer rhythm loop while a barroom piano tinkles tinily in the background. Then there's Yennah's dubwise "Pulsar," which draws equally from jazz and reggae traditions. Absolutely nothing here is uninteresting, and you can't say that about very many electronica albums. Recommended.

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