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Coldcut – Sound Mirrors

Attention Coldcut fanatics! Let us all take a moment and Replay in our minds the pleasure of listening to Journey’s By DJ-70 Minutes Of Madness mix CD and Let Us Play. Remember when these brilliant concoctions of electronica left us in awe? And how Coldcut manages to combine elements of hip-hop, funk, electro, jungle, and breakbeat styles together into genre defying description? I do.

The duo responsible for this sound collage, cut-and-paste producers Jonathan More and Matt Black, swung the world of electronic music wide open with Coldcut and didn’t look back. This is evident by looking at the artists on the roster of their Ninja Tune label: Amon Tobin, DJ Food, Hex Static, Funki Porcini, and Herbaliser (to name a few). Diversity central.


Equally diverse is Coldcut’s latest and highly anticipated LP Sound Mirrors. This is realized immediately on the first single, “Everything is Under Control,” when guest vocalist Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion) readies us for the journey with the vocal lines, “Get your rock’n’roll and get it under control.” Thereafter, “ETUC” explodes into an ultra modern rock infused hip-hop and electro groove that sets Sound Mirrors into motion, accompanied by guest underground rap MC Mike Ladd. Through one song it’s obvious that with Sound Mirrors, More and Black have a full smorgasbord of innovative sounds to come. Like the infectious dancehall of “True Skool,” with Roots Manuva on vocals or the menacing and dark trip-hop feel of “Sound Mirrors” that is bathed with gentle string orchestration.

Sound Mirrors is seductive electronica pleasing at first listen. Everything is represented here.

On “Mr. Nichols,” Coldcut blends swashes of electronic ambience with Saul Williams’ stellar spoken word that places the inner mind into acute introspection. John Matthias delivers soothing vocals paired with the quirky rhythms of “Man In a Garage.” For up-tempo junkies, “This Island Earth” pairs delicate piano lines and the throbbing feel of techno/electro pulsation into a catchy pop-styled tune complete with the sexy vocal delivery of Mpho Skeef.

For fans of Let Us Play, “Aid Dealer” sounds like the funky psychedelia More and Black perfected earlier in their careers with the addition of the prominent vocals of Soweto Kinch. With “Walk a Mile,” the highlight is the convincing performance of famed Chicago house vocalist Robert Owens and the addicting hints of subtle house music in Coldcut style.

These songs all build to the proper ending track in “Colours the Soul,” which serves to put a soothing and satisfying cap on the music presented on here. More and Black have done it again. Sound Mirrors is a classic representation of what Coldcut does best: fusing diverse music into a cohesive mix with no boundaries that is impossible to categorize without using 18 adjectives to get the point across.


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