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Keith LeBlanc

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More than just a drummer for the apocalyptic dub/funk produced by Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound productions, Keith LeBlanc is also an accomplished solo artist who uses the same collage of sound and aural layering learned from years of playing in the Sherwood-produced band Tackhead. Admittedly, LeBlanc gets a lot of help from cohorts Doug Wimbish and Skip McDonald (the other two-thirds of Tackhead, originally part of Sylvia Robinson's Sugarhill studio band), as well as Sherwood himself. But that said, the recordings that bear his name have been exciting, experimental hunks of postmodern music that combine live playing with musique concrete, and spoken word segments with snippets from film and television. In other words: easy listening this ain't. LeBlanc's career started auspiciously with the release of the EP No Sell Out, which was a hip-hop deconstruction of a Malcolm X speech. An alternative scene "hit," it helped engender interest for LeBlanc's first full-blown solo effort, Major Malfunction, which gets its title from the description used by engineers of the Challenger space shuttle disaster; LeBlanc uses some of the tape-recorded reports from the disaster for effect. Not a big seller, Malfunction was followed by Stranger Than Fiction, which was a bit of a letdown, but still had enough squalling noise and reggae-inflected creepiness to make it well worthwhile. ~ John Dougan