Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music in Brief

Laced with dance tracks that favor lean moods over flashy splash, Ame's mix-disc Mixing (Sonar Kollektiv) slots into a recent fertile movement that surveys the "vibes" of house music with rigor more commonly associated with techno. Fellow movement-maker Henrik Schwarz shows up in a remix with endless layers of tension, and the rest bounces between fleshy and mechanistic sounds that sketch a revealing line from disco to rave to downtempo lounge music… B+

Somewhere between militant horror-crunk and the kind of sounds that Tracy Morgan might hear in his head while in the bathtub, the druggy hip-hop on Hyphy Hitz (TVT) covers lots of celestial ground. Centered in the Bay Area, rappers like Keak Da Sneak, E-40, and Babyface Assassins dish bawdy rhymes and beats that alternate between the weird/weedy (Nump's "I Got Grapes") and the mystifying/macabre (Balance's "Grind")… B


Traces of 4hero's past as a pioneer of jungle and drum and bass lurk in only trace amounts on Play With The Changes (Milan), but they're there to be found. The rhythms are chopped and situated prominently in the mix; aficionados of drum sounds have plenty to pore over. But d'n'b mainly figures through the record's attention to the rest of the dressing: strings, vibes, fingered bass, vocals—all the tools of funk and soul as made in the '70s. 4hero sounds more like Stevie Wonder than Goldie these days, and the evolution makes more sense than might seem apparent… B

Beats by the German techno producer Pantha Du Prince tend to hit hard, but they're so busy and intricate that their force falls low on their list of attributes. This Bliss (Dial) trades in melodic synth figures that wrap in serpentine patterns and help tart up Pantha Du Prince's fetish for texture. Everything slides or shakes or shivers in his productions, and it makes everything else in view vibrate—like the numbers on a digital clock in the midst of a burp. B