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The Strike Boys Playtime

Put aside your Thievery Corporation albums and your Mushroom Jazz compilations. The Strike Boys' Playtime is what 21st century lounge music should sound like. Putting aside the pulsing, rave-related breaks of their past, this Bavarian duo crafts an album full of gently rolling, vibey downtempo. Most of Playtime amplifies reggae influences, achieving ever more subtle layers of bass. The roots-meets-proto-house swing of "I Am the Witness" and the squelching ragga-tinged synthetics of "Free" and "Everybody" (both featuring MC Blaze) are particularly good, although echoing dub techniques can be heard underneath nearly every track. The album is nicely arranged to roll out into minimal ambient house, but, true to their roots, The Strike Boys can't resist one last rave jab. Playtime ends on a playful note with "No Music," a pulsing pop-lock jam full of computerized voices and scissor-kicking breakbeats.

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