Thursday, December 18, 2008

Every Dish

Artist: The Cinematic Orchestra
Album: Every Day
Released in: 2002

My music collection is sending me a message. It says: you have too much downtempo. Granted, the CO are much more jazzy than most downtempo practitioners, and I like that. They're a talented bunch of performers with a late-night, back-of-the-jazz-club aesthetic that I really enjoy. Still, the music mostly just grooves quietly on with little fanfare.

Again, though, there are two exceptions, although one of them is not a pleasant exception. This album features All Things to All Men, perhaps the worst Roots Manuva song ever recorded. The rhymes are lame, it's way too slow and the CO and Roots seem hopelessly mismatched. At the other end of the album, though, there is the swoop of gorgeousness that caused me to buy the album in the first place:

All That You Give opens with a glorious shimmer (and a harp!), but the best moment in the whole song is (I think) when the bass line, some strings and the shimmer combine at about 1:00. Listen and love.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Abstract Dishes

Artist: Various stalwarts of downtempo
Album: Abstract Vibes
Released in:
I Just Discovered: imeem!

This CD captures the mid 90's downtempo scene well -- it's smooth, sampladelic, jazzy, trip-hoppy, and chill. Most of the tracks go down easy but are not too memorable, with two exceptions.

Exception 1: Chocolate Elvis by Tosca.
Very well-constructed with just the right touch on the (well-chosen) samples -- not a continuous onslaught, but not some random dude shouting 'Heyyyyy' once every two minutes.

Exception 2: Dieu Reconnaitra les Siens by DJ Cam
A downtempo classic: initial gorgeous silky synth + some nice 'n' chunky beats + a bit of scratching. What more could you want? Jazz flute, perhaps? You got it.