Take that Train
Interfearence got bass. Their tracks aspire to and often touch the thumpingly addictive dance majesties of prime Chic and Taste of Honey. That's achievement enough, but this London-based duo are after more than simply a sexy, slithering bass line flanked by tribal rhythms and broken-beat techno. They want a cinematic sense of tension, and they basically get it on the Brazilian-tinged track "Dinhero"—all at once, it's mysterious, stately, mellow, even sensual, similar to what mid-'90s electronic hero William Orbit attempted with his exotic Strange Cargo series before he hooked up with Madonna. It should be no shock that Interfearence DJ/producer Tyrrell was once in talks to produce music with Orbit. The collaboration never happened, but perhaps that's a good thing—Interfearence take the wistful, breezy, dramatic moments that made Strange Cargo so cool while dumping the more mawkish soap opera interludes that made some parts of that series so corny. What remains is hedonistic pagan ritual—music produced purely for getting down, diving headfirst into mystery, and committing a lot of things you'll wind up regretting in the morning. Yow.
The very notion of a musical supergroup is suspect. So any collaboration between star DJ/A&R guy Paul Martin (he discovered electronic giants Roni Size and MJ Cole; he's also half of Interfearence) and blue-chip DJ/producer Alex Attias should be nothing more than a boring clash of egos, right? Wrong—dead wrong. Life Mirrors is simply an amazing album, the avant-garde, non-commercial flip side of Moby's blues/techno opus Play. Beatless not only dump Moby's rock & roll bluster, but they also reject any insertion of outsized personalities into their seamless mix of sounds (which would collapse if anybody else tried it). Instead, they twist the spotlight so it shines on the exquisitely rich, rare groove vocals of the Daughters, the soul swagger of Colonel Red, and the art mayhem of LA rapper Quasimoto/Madlib. The result is a journey through the roughest and sweetest experiences life has to offer: the apocalyptic soul of "The Truth" is a perfect mix of dread, redemption and the mystical satori of gospel music; Quasimoto's hip-hop track "Dominant" creates a demented, sinister foreboding without sliding into brain-dead clichs; a cover of Roy Ayers' "Hercules" calls up the urgent spirit of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" period, a plaintive, humanistic cry set to a smooth, soulful beat. All this is wrapped up in Beatless' broken beats, plus some sidetracks into strange, sensual Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Is there any way to follow up this work of genius? Not likely.
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