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Master Sessions Vol.2

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Album Review

During the '90s, dance producers voyaged into uncharted genre-crossover waters (jazz, classical, dub, academic electronics) with increasing regularity, so it was just a matter of time before at least one act attempted a recording inspired by Latin music, specifically the Cuban phenomenon of Buena Vista Social Club. It's doubtful, however, that anyone in the trip-hop community could do this kind of tribute as well as the British duo Up, Bustle and Out, who not only has strong roots within the music of Central and South America but has previously incorporated on-site field recordings into their material. Still, the first of two volumes in the Rebel Radio series is less a melding of breakbeat dance and native Latin forms than it is a trip-hop album inspired by Cuban music. It was undoubtedly a wise decision — especially considering the potentially gimmicky sound of Cuban music laced with hip-hop breaks — but Up, Bustle and Out also ran the risk of their listeners not being able to follow them. The album begins with a pair of tight beatbox-funk jams, "The Educators" and "Hip Hop Barrio," then goes into two traditional Cuban songs performed with a large band led by flutist Richard Egües who has played with salsa star icons including Tito Puente, Joe Cuba, Larry Harlow, and Fania All-Stars. The rest of the album follows the same blueprint, with a couple of excellent up-tempo trip-hop tracks leading into a section of flute- and piano-led Cuban guarachas or descargas. The productions are always tied to Cuba, from the paranoid strings of "Kennedy's Secret Tapes" to the searing vibes of "Havana's Streets," a poetry piece with vocals by Martin Genge. Even considering that the vast majority of trip-hop fans aren't interested in traditional Latin music, Master Sessions, Vol. 1 features plenty of solid production. [An added bonus is a 150-page book, The Rebel Radio Diary, charting Up, Bustle and Out's Rupert Mould (complete with frontispiece featuring Mould on a motorcycle Che Guevara-style).]


Formed: 1993 in Bristol, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s

With influences drawn from diverse sources all over the world -- from Istanbul to Bolivia, Andalusia to North Africa -- Up, Bustle and Out is one of the harder groups to pin down on the experimental breakbeat landscape. Hailing from the English town of Bristol, home also to Tricky and Massive Attack, Up, Bustle and Out comprises producers Rupert Mould and D. "Ein" Fell, who formed the group in the early '90s as an adjunct to their respective interests in non-Western musics, funk and soul, jazz, and...
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