MUSIC: CD REVIEWS - DANCE
Sunday 29 August 1999
Breakbeat Era are singer-songwriter Lennie Laws and fellow Bristolians - and Mercury prize-winners - Roni Size and DJ Die, and Ultra Obscene has been hotly anticipated since their eponymous debut single found its way into the top 20 last year. And "Breakbeat Era", with its groovy, walking double-bass, smooth, rolling beats and Laws's soulful vocals, remains the best track on this album.
Elsewhere the beats are sharper and the bass tougher and less organic, while on tracks like "Rancid", "Anti-Everything" and "Animal Machine", Laws sings like a cross between Nina Simone and P J Harvey. His heartfelt yet cynical words find a fertile middle-ground between the meaningless MC-ing or samples of divas that have been twinned with drum'n'bass thus far and are a match for Size and Die's tough production. Together, they have fashioned the first successful vocal d'n'b album.
OMNI TRIO: BYTE SIZE LIFE (Moving Shadow)
Rob Haigh did his innovating years ago, when his first Omni Trio albums introduced a lusher, more melodic vibe to the dark hardcore sound of early-Nineties drum'n'bass. Now that the trend has reversed and either hard, jump-up beats or a live jazzy sound are in vogue, it's refreshing to hear that Omni Trio's new album is really not very different from the previous three. Defiantly electronic and exquisitely crafted, Byte Size Life marries precise but complex rolling beats to warm fluid basslines, ethereal strings and melodic riffs. Although the likes of L T J Bukem and Blame have proved that such tracks work well on the dancefloor, Omni Trio's build-ups are so subtle and controlled, they're more lie-back than jump-up. At just over an hour, Byte Size Life slips by so swiftly and smoothly, it's the aural equivalent of a glass of Baileys on ice.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
- 4 Headaches, fry ups, and hair of the dog - why do we get hangovers, and is there such thing as a 'cure'?
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly