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Natural Selection

Sounds from the Ground

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Album Review

Previously ambient dub specialists, with their third record, Natural Selection, Sounds From the Ground moved into a style of downtempo electronica perfectly matched to the chillout crowd then in ascendance. Although mildly opportunistic, the record shows Messrs. Woolfson and Jones are quite adept at crafting earthy downbeat with plenty of warm keys and an aura of the sublime. The opener, "Lean on Me" featuring Colein, is especially nice, a languorous piece of female-fronted electronic pop with jazzy keys and a lazy, shuffling beat. A feature for drum'n'bass chatter General Levy is solid as well, though a few of the other vocalists on tap ruin the tracks they appear on, like the belabored Björk impressions of Nicola Hitchcock and the childish (literally) spoken-word piece by Aine on "Inner World" (granted, she's noticeably better on the sunny trip-pop of "New Day"). Like Zero 7 composing for a car commercial (though they probably already have), Natural Selection aims more for a crossover pop audience, but does hit its target precisely.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Ambient dub-techno duo Sounds from the Ground first came to prominence during the mid-'90s with the landmark productions "Triangle" (1994) and "Gather" (1995). After releasing these two successful singles, the duo — London, England-based producers Elliot Jones and Nick Woolfson — crafted their debut long-player, Kin (1996). The singles, as well as the album, were released on the Universal Egg label, while the well-known ambient label Waveform released the album in the States to a warm...
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