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DJ Spooky: Optometry (2002)

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DJ Spooky: Optometry No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series surges onward in a futuristic mode with this latest installment, featuring turntable guru DJ Spooky’s melding of EFX, rap, funk, free jazz and more. Drummer Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood notoriety chips in, along with an artist known as “Priest” and a conglomerate of New York City based modern jazz heroes.

We get to hear the great improvising saxophonist Joe McPhee blowing soulful lines atop pulsating rhythms and pianist Matthew Shipp’s three-chord melody on “Ibid, desmarches, ibid.” Essentially, this outing is awash with funkified backbeats, bottom heavy rhythmic sequences, trip- hop patterns, and free-jazz gyrations. The DJ provides emphasis and background treatments throughout, while utilizing his laptop, turntable and acoustic bass. Bassist William Parker injects his signature style via booming ostinatos, while the band melds a complex outlook with densely populated frameworks.

This release also includes some off-color rap that hearkens notions of a dysfunctional urban society. However, Shipp serves as the catalyst as he provides a plethora of memorably melodic motifs and jazzy right hand leads, while violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain incorporates a few sultry themes into the mix. The bottom line is that DJ Spooky and company take late '90s stylizations into the new millennium with a novel approach. Besides all of the fanfare and technicalities, this outing is an absolute blast and signifies one of the more successful excursions for this generally exciting label. Recommended....

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Track Listing: 1.Ibid, desmarches, ibid 2.Reactive Switching Strategies for the Control of Uninhabited 3.Variation Cybernetique 4.Asphalt (Tome II) 5.Optometry 6.Sequentia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation I) 7.Rosemary 8.Dementia Absentia 9.Parachutes 10.Absentia Absentia (Dialectical Triagulation III) 11.Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic 12.Periphique 13.It

Personnel: Matthew Shipp: piano

Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Style: Funk/Groove


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