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Review: Patrick Dubois Today

Label: Isoghi

Daniel Erbe's got one hell of an alter-ego. As Patrick Dubois, he creates luscious, minimal techno with a warm, fuzzy center. The bulk of the tunes on Today are heady, atmospheric tracks that throb with emotion and pulsate with an earnestness all too often suppressed in today's more clinical techno works. Erbe's tracks like "Run," "My Cat" and "Sofa" resonate with the gentle, fragile beauty championed by minimal machine-music artists like Norken and Brothomstates. Read more » 

Review: Dakah Hip-Hop Orchestra Unfinished Symphony

Label: Rhythm Room

Dakah lays down the gauntlet for those "producers" who recycle samples, nudge already-hackneyed beats and call the result "hip-hop." The LA-based 60-plus piece orchestra shows the difference live musicians can make on tracks like "Adiago Asiago" (subtitled "Tryin II Sow My Love"), a love song where swelling woodwinds are grounded with unhurried percussion. Another standout is "Invocation of the Duke," where the scratching lets the Latin percussion and string- and horn-laden instrumentation take the foreground. Minor quibble: sometimes the instruments overwhelm the sung and rapped vocals. Read more » 

Review: Smooth S/t

Label: Real Estate

Cram Everything But The Girl, Morcheeba and Portishead into a blender, and you get the endearing, but somewhat derivative, Smooth. This Israeli band does a fine job of creating bleepy electronic soundscapes full of free-wheeling guitar work, shimmering synth lines and meandering melodies, but the end result is hardly captivating. "All Those Feelings" is a lovely piece of post-Radiohead rock and "Fill It Up" fits right into a dark, Generation X-directed TV police drama soundtrack. But the vocal theatrics and intense melodrama begin to wear a bit thin. Read more » 

Review: Various Madlib: Shades of Blue

Label: Bluenote

Crate-digger and storied producer Madlib cooks up a tasty and tasteful chicken soup with Shades of Blue. The album is one part bitches brew: DJ Lord flavors original cuts from Bobby Hutcherson in the joint "Montara." It's one part weak sauce: snare-heavy rock beats collide with lilting flutes in the overly-beefed remix of Otis Jackson Jr.'s "Funky Blue Note." It's one part meat stock: by layering straight hand-claps over liquid vibes, Madlib discovers something haunting and beautiful in Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew." Smoke a blunt before listening, and try to get all the nuances. Read more » 

Review: Uultrakurt & Pantytec Barry-Lynn Bronzon

Label: Telegraph

Cabanne and Gluck of Ultrakurt are back with some more crunchy goodness after releasing their solid cut, Post Office," last year and remixing Perlon favorite Pantytec. Zip and Sammy Dee return the favor on this EP, with a great remix of "2 Millimeters" that makes this a French minimal-techno gem. " Read more » 

Review: Mr. G New Blood EP

Label: Shuffle

Colin McBean's main appeal is that his production is universal. His records are played by house, techno, and even trance (yecch) DJs. This one's no exception: for the house-head, "The Day After B" employs filtered vocal samples that slip in and out, while "Flux Tech" pounds the body into submission with only one escape-dance. Read more » 

Review: Max Sedglley The EP

Label: Irma

Breakbeat Era/Reprazent drummer Sedgley slows the tempo of his day-job bands in order to go solo as a producer, and the man's got undeniable diversity happening here. Between the brazenly chunky non-clich?d blaxploitation funk of "Happy" to the perky, digi-soulful and two-stepping "Two-Way" and the rich downtempo steez of "Slowly," Sedgley leaves us thirsting for more. Read more » 

Review: Various Osrltd001

Label: Offshore

Brooklyn-based DJ Clever brings together some heavies for this spotlight on his leftfield d&b imprint. On the a-side, Deep Blue's elegant "Do You Voodoo" draws spindly percussion and warm bass tones in the atmosphere, while Justice bumps traces of Amens against some rumbling low-end. On the flip, Pieter K's tentative "Rapport" flutters its drums and wows its bassline through emotive piano lines, while Graphic's off-balance percussion on "1000" proves almost sensual, though who knows whether it'll work on the dancefloor. As usual, Offshore takes risks . Read more » 

Review: Skatalites From Paris With Love

Label: World Village

Bounce, bounce!

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