Meat Beat Manifesto At The Center

[Thirsty Ear; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: free jazz dub, techno, electronica
Others: Boom Bip, DJ Krush, Orbital, Fluke

There's something about Thirsty Ear's blue series releases. It's not that they all sound the same -- that couldn't be further from the truth -- but that they exude the same sort of feelings and tones as if they were all recorded in the same studio. For all I know, they could've been (I could not find this information). However disparaging the styles of the artists being brought in for these collaborations, from heavy metal drummers and turntablist trip-hoppers to abstract jungle producers and rap MCs, the finished products streamline, to an extent, to the blue series standard. For the first Meat Beat Manifesto addition to the blue series, Jack Dangers brings his upright bass beats and classic TV sci-fi synths and sounds to match with assistance from Bad Plus percussionist Dave King, the flute of Peter Gordon which glazes St. Germaine at times, and a heap of help from blue series alumni Craig Talborn. As typical of the blue series, At The Center is an intelligent nu-jazz exploration probably meant more for the pot smokers and absinthe drinkers than the frat bar crowd. Highlight "Bohemian Groove" uses some stringed sounds, whale song moans, and a delicate flute which could have easily been a bonus track on DJ Krush's Jaku. For fans of the man, who over the last 20 years has run through everything from industrial dance to acid IDM, this CD was, for better or worse, not unexpected. But make no mistake: At The Center is highly intelligent and truly original with interesting sounds and dialogue. Blue series fans, come and get it.

1. Wild
2. Flute Thang
3. Murita Cycles
4. Want Ads One
5. Blind
6. Musica Classica
7. Bohemian Grove
8. United Nations etc etc
9. Want Ads Two
10. The Water Margin
11. Shotgun! (Blast To The Brain)
12. Granulation 1

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