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MP3 underpoets - catalyst

A gorgeous mix of constantly morphing down-tempo ambient grooves under sensuous, evocative melodies.

11 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Down Tempo, POP: with Electronic Production

On the Underpoets'' debut album "Catalyst", New York producer Malcolm Payne has crafted a cycle of tunes which, though it will inevitably draw some listeners from the worlds of Thievery Corporation, Zero 7 or Tosca, will hopefully provide them with a more original take on what are starting to seem like well-worn ideas. "Music is most appealing to me when repeated listens become a journey of discovery - when you can listen to a tune twenty or fifty times and then hear a new element for the first time - a gradual unfolding". Maybe not quite gradual enough sometimes, as with "Set You Free" (albeit featuring a wonderfully nuanced performance from New York jazz chanteuse Marya Lawrence) where you may find yourself begging for a little down time from the relentless onslaught of interweaving motifs, but for the most part the many diverse parts crystallize into a most compelling mosaic. "(Makes me) Crazy", co-written with singer Pamela Sue Mann (Suzanne Vega, Spooky Ghost), an ominous ode to obsessive love, is driven by an evil, pulsating bassline, and features Bowie guitar man Gerry Leonard. "Hungry" is perhaps the album''s standout track:

"So you''ve found a man with time on his hands,
You''ve found a place your eyes can rest,
Can you read his mind or just his motives?
Are you feeling strong, or only blessed?"

Sung by Polina with fragile sensuality, over a lush arrangement of Barry-esque harpsichords and organs. It aims to strike a deep chord in anyone who has ever lost faith in, or just been lost in a big city. Other featured artists include drummer Graham Hawthorne (Paul Simon, David Byrne) and New York singer-songwriter Pamela Laws, who, as the fourth guest singer, contributes two words to "Carry Me" and steals the show.

It will be interesting to see where Malcolm takes the Underpoets project from here; it may depend on whether the more commercial songs, "Hungry", "(Makes me) Crazy" or "Catalyst" garner the mainstream attention they crave, or if the album as a whole continues it''s cult status amongst the New York music community. These are undoubtedly some of the best mixed, best arranged and most moving tracks to be found in the ambient, down-tempo, whatever-you-want-to-call-it genre. Perhaps his faith that there is depth after all in an area seemingly dominated by vapid Euro/East Village posing may finally pay dividends.

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