After seven years fronting the Atlanta bossa-jazz-pop group Cicada Sings, chanteuse Pam Howe witnessed a performance by bluesy groove masters G. Love & Special Sauce that was inspiring enough to change her musical outlook. Having an inherent fondness for hip-hop, Howe and longtime collaborator/drummer Chris Burte toyed with the idea of a new project and in 1997, roped in a couple of local club DJs to help fulfill their vision. Aaron Platt and Captain Mudfish Starbolt were the lucky recruits (later joined by percussionist Tony James) and the trip-hop sound of pH Balance was born. Their individual and collective reputations, along with a strong buzz on the Atlanta music scene, were enough to perk up the ears of Indigo Girls' Amy Ray, who signed pH Balance to her not-for-profit independent Daemon Records and released their self-titled debut in 1999. Akin to the seductive artistry of their U.K. counterparts Portishead and Everything But the Girl, Howe and Mudfish alternately sing, speak, and rap engaging melodies over live (and occasionally looped) rhythms.
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