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Carthage Milk

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Album Review

Taking a break from popular techno juggernaut Swayzak hasn't meant a total break from music for James Taylor, as he proves on Carthage Milk for French label Logistic. It has, however, meant a departure of the pop vocal elements that have made Swayzak exceptionally popular given the rather underground nature of their musical style. What Taylor offers here is ten tracks that certainly look back to the duo's earlier (some would say best) work, such as the highly regarded Snowboarding in Argentina. And while the absence of vocals and the dubby throb of opener "Never Wanted to Be Like You" makes that an easy case to present, this album unfolds with a musical vision beyond simple revisits to the past. The jerky rhythm of "Bumpkin," with its fractured samples played against warm piano chords and its single note melody reminds you of the microhouse pulse established on Swayzak's Groovetechnology, Vol. 1.3 DJ mix, while "Jack Flap" and "No Clear Channel" go to an unfamiliar place in Taylor's catalog, with dark bass notes that indicate a liking for classic Chicago acid house. But no matter what sub-sub-genre of electronic music Taylor applies, he tapers each cut with equal parts tech-dub warmth and glitchy precision. Not the work of a man on sabbatical.

Carthage Milk, James Taylor
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