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Soulphonic Sound System Volume One

  • Words: David Ma
  • Label: Convincing Woodgrain

As sonically sharp as DJ Santo's and Chauncey Canfield's beats are on Volume One, it's the guest vocals that are this album's saving grace. Meshing breakbeats, jazz horns, and Latin flare is a painfully typical formula, and, as such, tracks like "Dossaba" and "Nutmeg" are completely forgettable. "Make It Stop" and "The One" are the sole highpoints, containing charming female vocals that flutter nicely with the production. Although the Portland duo can blend diverse styles cohesively, the songs are repetitive ("Motanica"), uninteresting ("Mr.Sparkle"), and mechanical ("Underwater Circuits"). Volume One sounds like every other lounge comp you've heard recently, and proves that possessing technical know-how isn't enough.

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