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Kut Masta Kurt/Kool Keith - Masters of Illusion
We All Over

Masters of Illusion has actually been out since November, but I just picked it up last month. And I couldn't be happier that I did. This extra long-play disk reunites Kut Masta Kurt with Kool Keith (they were together last on the fabulously underrated Dr. Doom) who are joined by Motion Man trading off with Keith on the mike.

For those of you who heard Dr. Dooom, the overall production is similar, but with more DJing. In fact, there is more scratching (wicki -wicki) on this CD than on any I have heard in recent years. The beats are hard and reminiscent of Dr. Octagon, but the vocals are much more in-your-face. For fans of Kool Keith and Kut Masta, this is not to be missed. And is to be expected with Keith, this record is not for the overly PC.

Mount Florida - Arrived Phoenix

The Glaswegian duo, Mount Florida has actually been around for a couple of years, but this is their first full length. They use a melodic blend of instrumentation and electronics to create a multi-genre mix of dub, ambient, and techno but are unfortunately trying to do too much at once. Some songs work independently of one another but nothing is cohesive about this disk. It merely seems disjointed and lacking direction.

Using a many more electronics than Tortoise, Mount Florida actually have more in common with label mates Boards of Canada. Overall, the disk is OK, but it lacks the soul and melody needed to keep my attention. Also, some of the voice samples used are downright annoying.

Tortoise - Standards

Standards, the latest Tortoise CD is really a nice surprise. I enjoyed TNT, but felt the disk to be too moody and disjointed to be really enjoyable. There were some great moments to be found on it, but in the long run it hasn't been spending too much time in my CD player. Standards, on the other hand, has been in rotation ever since I bought it last week. It perfectly blends the melodic cohesiveness of Millions That are Alive Today Will Never Die with the intricate instrumentation of TNT.

Tortoise is clearly trying to do something a little different this time out. Some tracks are much heavier than you would expect from this usually jazzy and somber Chicago band. This is especially true on the opening drone-filled track "Seneca." They also seem to be expanding upon the sound of Isotope 217 (that other Tortoise band) on tracks such as "Six Pack" which are downright funky.

If you have never heard them before, critics call them the leaders of the "post rock" movement, meaning (I guess) that they use xylophones as frequently as guitars to carry a melody and vocals are not present. They are often very jazzy and use subtle electronics to flavor their songs.

Overall. Standards seems less cold than TNT and will surely please all fans of this increasingly important band.

Jan Jelinek - loop-finding-jazz-records

Do you like Pole? Then you will like this CD. Haven't heard Pole? Then go out and buy anything from this German minimal dub/techno artist today because he is not to be missed.

This is Jan Jelinek first CD on Stephan Betke's (AKA Pole) Scape label and it sounds like an expansion upon Betke's work. The usual scatched- vinyl-sounding pops and crackles are omnipresent, but Jelinek juices things up a tad with a toe-tapping 4/4. For those of you bored by the minimalism of Pole (not me), this disk showcases more variation than you would expect from Betke.

Supposedly, the title comes from the fact that Jelinek took samples exclusively from old jazz records and then reworked them to create his soundscapes, but he could just as easily have used the Monkees. The samples are never more than a second long, so melody is indistinguishable. What remains though, is a beautifully ambient techno/dub disk, that will delight fans of this emerging genre.

(I hear that Jelineck's Farben tracks are even better, so I will keep you posted when I get them.)

-- Robert Lanham

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