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Album Review

As downtempo goes, Jaffa's debut Elevator is light and airy in the extreme. Instead of urban paranoia or meditations on fashion, Jaffa opts for warm, rounded keyboard textures and punchy midtempo beats. The title track glides by on fat Hammond organ chords, samples of children playing, and crisp drum programming, the perfect soundtrack for a sunny day in the park. The title of "Sneakin'" could refer to the fact that the beat was filched from Massive Attack's "Blue Lines," but it's more likely a reference to the beat's original home — "Sneakin' in the Back" by saxophonist Tom Scott — since Jaffa uses the groove in a context closer to acid jazz than hip-hop. The inclusion of a vocal version of "Sneakin'," with the words from the standard "God Bless the Child" added, was a mistake, as was the "Cookie Puss"-style phone prank that dominates "Star 67," ruining an otherwise interesting track. These gaffes aside, Elevator makes for pleasant, if somewhat inconsequential, listen.

Elevator, Jaffa
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