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Feed the Cat

Agent K

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Album Review

Kaidi Tatham was already a valued member of West London's incestuous music community before Feed the Cat's mid-2002 release. Not only did Tatham's CV count associations with Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, but he also had a fixed spot among broken beat's elite as a multi-instrumentalist and producer, having been involved with the Bugz in the Attic massive, and the triple-headed supergroup Neon Phusion. This full-length proves Tatham to be a force on his own and stands with Afronaught's Shapin' Fluid as one of the best single-artist albums to have come from the scene. Like most of his counterparts, Tatham has an affinity for all things polyrhythmic and melodic; he throws Kuti, Ayers, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, and Prince into the mix and manages to cook up productions that thankfully avoid overt reverence by building on his inspirations rather than mimicking them. There's no greater example of this than the closing "Betcha (Did)"; opening with subtle Latin jazz flourishes, it settles into a stuttering beat accented by nimble stabs of piano before vocalist Izzi Dunn arrives to drop lines that are delivered alternately with all of Prince's sly sultriness ("Betcha thought you were the man of my dreams") and all of Jocelyn Brown's contagious confidence ("Betcha thought you were so good I'd never fake"). Dunn switches pitch as often as the arrangement swings from a complex array of percussive elements and soft keyboard tones to a few seconds of spare piano-and-keyboard interplay. The feel of the album is loose throughout. Seven songs ranging from six to 11 minutes in length are broken up by brief interludes, and none of them are in any hurry to pass by. Tatham clearly wants you to settle into these grooves and soak up the rich sounds. There's no problem doing just that, whether you want to cut a rug or just put on the headphones. [The U.S. edition, released through Giant Step, adds a pair of bonus tracks.]

Biography

Genre: Breakbeat

Years Active: '00s

A key player in the West London-based development called broken beat, multi-instrumentalist and producer Kaidi Tatham has had a hand in a number of recording projects since the early '90s, in addition to releasing material of his own under his birth name and as Agent K. During the '90s, Tatham was an associate of Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers, and he was a member of Ninja Tune hip-hop-and-electronica group the Herbaliser. The 2000s saw Tatham completely immersed in West London's music community; he contributed...
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Feed the Cat, Agent K
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Contemporaries