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Broken Beats
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  • Tributee: Horace Andy.
  • Longtime lovers of dub and tasteful electronica, the Echo Beach label is a suitable place for a remix album of Horace Andy to land, but even with some well-chosen remixers, a strong set list, and a legendary reggae singer/Massive Attack collaborator all in place, Broken Beats does require some expectations adjustment. First off, Andy cut these vocals specifically for this project, meaning these versions of "Skylarking," "Cuss Cuss," and "Money Money" are new to begin with and not the roots-era recordings reggae fans cherish. The liner notes dismiss the use of those classic tracks as an idea that's "sooo nineties," and while Andy's high voice is still strong with that soft and delicate yet certain style fans adore, it just begs the question as to why a full new album was attempted with this fine set of producers. Give up on that pipe dream and listeners are faced with the redundancy factor, as songs are repeated in their remix, dub, and version versions, making this a better DJ tool than a front-to-back listen. Still, when Bristol producer Rob Smith gets ahold of "Cuss Cuss," it's a journey deep into the techno jungle that drum'n'bass fans will cherish, and when Oliver Frost and Eva B. mix the great "Skylarking" into echoing outer space, it's the Massive Attack and Mad Professor team-up all over again in terms of dub-hop greatness. Still, this is best consumed as if it were two or three EPs, so keep the remote handy and don't get couchlocked. ~ David Jeffries
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