Album: Dusted <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Safe from Harm, CHEEKY/SONY BMG
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The Independent Culture

Dusted is the brainchild of Rollo Armstrong, the founder of Faithless and backroom genius behind the success of his sister Dido. Five years ago, with keyboardist and production partner Mark Bates, he recorded When We Were Young, a dub-techno album intended as the soundtrack to a children's book he planned to write. It was acclaimed as the chill-out album of the year, but got rather swamped in the wakes of Dido and Faithless. Now a father himself, he's finally finished the book (published by Sidgwick & Jackson) and decided to remake the entire album, this time employing a full orchestra. I'm not sure it works as well as the original: where "Childhood" once opened the album like a sunrise picked out in electronic blips and washes, "In the Beginning" now leads it off with an excess of forbidding, stealthy strings; and some of When We Were Young's best moments - the reggae-tinged "If You Go Down to the Woods" and the trip-hop piece "Oh How Sweet" - have been ditched or altered beyond recognition. There are magical moments, notably in the detailed montages of "Winter", but overall, despite the presence of Dido's naive tones on several tracks, what was a series of gently unfolding dub-techno exercises, tenderly reflective of the fears and comforts of childhood has become a much grander, more oppressive experience.

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