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Album Review

Cargo is a set of menacing, dusty trip-hop jams, an aesthetic completely in keeping with the accompanying booklet's images of a construction site at night. This Austrian quartet, influenced by dub, acid jazz, and Kraut-rock in equal amounts, construct their own beatscapes with dark (usually live) beats and deep, dubby basslines. The result is a half-live, half-programmed sound that's often more reminiscent of Primal Scream (circa Vanishing Point) than Sofa Surfers' nominal compatriots in the German electronics scene. On the opener, "Container," a heavily mic'ed dub drum kit sets the stage for several minutes of excellent distorted funk, while the group crank it up higher yet for the second track ("Beans & Rice"), with guest vocalist Singing Bird chatting freestyle over a beat-crazy production. It's clear that Sofa Surfers concentrate on the transitional flow between tracks (most are uninterrupted) just as much as the tracks themselves, making Cargo a sleek album that hangs together well and hits many peaks.


Formed: Vienna, Austria

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s

The trip-hop act Sofa Surfers was founded by a quartet of sound-obsessed Viennese instrumentalists: Wolfgang Schlögl, Markus Kienzl, Wolfgang Frisch, and Michael Holzgruber. The group's debut single, "Sofa Rockers," earned a remix from fellow Austrian head Richard Dorfmeister, and their debut album, Transit, earned wide...
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Cargo, Sofa Surfers
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