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Smile Hunter

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Album Review

Those of you who have been wondering whether the TheAgriculture label is capable of putting out a less than great album can now join the rest of the music world in deciding that the answer is probably "no." Once11's second album would sound just as good on any label, of course, but TheAgriculture seems to be uniquely capable of finding an artist like Ignacio Platas and giving him the room he needs to create more of his patented Brooklyn dub magic. As his album title would suggest, Once11 isn't out to challenge or shock; his sound is a fairly original and unusual amalgam of Latin, reggae, techno, and ambient elements, but it's never anything other than pleasant. What makes it more than merely pleasant is the complexity that lurks beneath the understated surface of this music: the polyrhythmic tension than builds when dubbed-out echoes squiggle away from the rockers beat on "Verifying People," the layers of implied rhythm on "Reference Guide to All the Available Light," the glitchy tone of the bass on "Before the Operation," the dead-slow one-drop groove on "Bottled Paycheck" that gives a subtle shout-out to vintage Studio One rhythms. If it's smiles that Platas is hunting for, then he's found a great way to flush them out. Highly recommended to all lovers of experimental dub and techno.

Smile Hunter, Once11
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