Voyage Au Centre de la Terre

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Making music for the "cafe crowd" might as well be tantamount to composing scores for elevator intercoms. In many respects, this third outing from Germany's Roland Voss is hobbled by the same ailments that plague down tempo's dubious chill-out splinter group; it meanders, it loiters, but -- like music expressly unintended for serious listening -- it never fails to make anything more than a superficial, passing impression. It's hard to say exactly what Voss' intentions were here; Voyage Au Centre de la Terre certainly has enough aural accoutrements to suggest that he once aspired to more than just another tastefully hip background record. Unfortunately, by aping the endlessly regurgitated motifs of the aforementioned chill faction (double-timed beats, breathy female vocals, spaced-out atmospherics), Voss has inadvertently pleaded guilty by association. When he veers from the template long enough to follow his own whims, he can be effective; sadly, for every subtle hook ("I Love You") there's a nearly unforgivable cod-jazz noodling ("Marchant") making this yet another retread in a genre fast becoming built on them.

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