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The Isley Brothers - Taken to the Next Phase (Reconstructions)

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Album Review

The reactionary days of "you kids are killing us with your downloading!" and big FBI anti-piracy warnings on the back of every major-label offering don't warrant a collection this quirky-cool and risky. The idea of remixing the Isley Brothers is hardly the stunning part; it's the excellent and tasteful selection of remixers on Taken to the Next Phase, an unnecessary but incredibly fun reworking of the Isley Brothers' deepest moments. None of the producers here mishandle the Isleys, but they aren't afraid to attack these tracks with an unexpected attitude either. Reggae hitmaker Steven "Lenky" Marsden's hectic dancehall reworking of "Between the Sheets" is a huge surprise and works wonderfully. Deep house man Gabriel Rene makes "Footsteps in the Dark" a deeper delicious with loopy touches and De La Soul sound like it's the Daisy Age once again on "It's a New Thing" (their update of "It's Your Thing"). The great big killer is saved for last with Mos Def turning "Groove With You" into the title-says-it-all "Beauty in the Dark." The rap world has mined the Isleys' back catalog for their own use plenty of times, and this payback shows how much these artists appreciated it. A remix collection you don't have to make excuses about; that's rare. A throwback that's as funky as the original; that's incredible. [A Japanese version added a bonus disc.]

Biography

Formed: 1954 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

First formed in the early '50s, the Isley Brothers enjoyed one of the longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music — over the course of nearly a half century of performing, the group's distinguished history spanned not only two generations of Isley siblings but also massive cultural shifts which heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. The first generation of Isley siblings was born and raised in Cincinnati,...
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