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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 54 - 03/09/01

Rae & Christian
Sleepwalking
K7 Records/Grand Central Records

Manchester hip-hoppers/producers/remixers Mark Rae and Steve Christian, formers of the Grand Central label, scored really nice with their debut album Northern Sulphuric Soul (1998). Blending hip-hop rhythms with samples, adding soul, funk, and jazzy curls, inviting prominent vocal guests to contribute on top of their melodic and rhythmical lines. Sleepwalking will show if they're able to present more substance, or if it's just some slow sleepwalk without direction.

The album is introduced with Blazing The Crop, scratches'n'beats, just to set the mood and the atmosphere. On Hold Us Down Cedric Myton of reggae veterans the Congos steps up to the mic, giving an intense butter-souled contribution, and it's hard to avoid the knees to sway, the feet from tapping. Smooth and catchy stuff! Soul-king Bobby Womack appears on two songs, Get A Life (too sophistic-slick and emo-souly for me, I'm afraid) and Wake Up Everybody, which is a bit darker. I find the contributions from So. Central L.A. alternative rappers the Pharcyde more interesting and entertaining, with It Ain't Nothing Like and Let It Go. It's also comfortable to find some vocal-less moments in-between, in Trailing In The Wake and the extremely tough up-beat stroll Ready To Roll. The albums finest moment must be the tranquillizing 'ballad' Not Just Anybody, with the angel/goddess voice of Kate Rogers. Heavenly!

Sleepwalking is pleasure filled listening, nighttime music definitely, but it might get a bit too soft after a while. Then again sleepwalking is far better when you don't bump into sharp and dangerous stuff...

Distribution in Norway: Tuba!

Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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