The debut full-length recording by English drum & bass pioneer LTJ Bukem leads a week of electronic-music releases that also includes albums by Chumbawamba, Rinocerose and DJ Food.
Also hitting stores Tuesday is At Home With the Groovebox, a unique electronic compilation featuring rock and pop acts Beck, Cibo Matto and Pavement.
Bukem's long-awaited Journey Inwards often diverts from the ambient drum & bass style (often called intelligent jungle) that has defined his own singles and the many releases on his UK label Good Looking. Songs such as "Inner Guidance" (RealAudio excerpt) reveal Bukem's affinity for soul and jazz, while "Close to the Source" is more faithful to his past work.
The real star of At Home with the Groovebox is a synthesizer called the Roland MC-505 Groovebox, a piece of equipment that combines the classic 303, 808 and 909 bass and drum machines of the 1980s with a sampler and sequencer to form an affordable dance-music home studio. The Beastie Boys' label, Grand Royal, gave a Groovebox to a bunch of hip artists, including Beck, Cibo Matto, Will Oldham, Sonic Youth and Pavement, and asked them to use only the machine to come up with a track. The result, expectedly, is a hodgepodge of folk, rock and electro, all with a techno twist.
The second album by English instrumental-hip-hop duo Patrick Carpenter (a.k.a. PC) and Kevin Foakes (a.k.a. Strictly Kev) together known as DJ Food is Kaleidoscope, released by Ninja Tune. A collection of hip-hop collages loaded with slow, abstract beats and obscure, often witty textural and vocal samples, the album is a lesson in innovative production and a journey of a listening experience.
DJ Food are among the original members of the Ninja Tune record label and crew. Before their 1995 debut album, A Recipe for Disaster, they released a classic five-volume Jazz Brakes series of DJ breakbeat records.
Chumbawamba will release the follow-up to their 1997 breakthrough album, Tubthumper, which featured the pop hit "Tubthumping" (RealAudio excerpt). The album is called WYSIWYG, an acronym for What You See Is What You Get.
As the poster band for anarchist rock and do-it-yourself dance music, Chumbawamba continue to turn heads with their latest creation. The first single, "She's Got All the Friends Money Can Buy," takes a monster pot shot at People magazine, while other song titles include "Hey, Hey We're the Junkies" and "Jesus in Vegas."
The album merges electronic styles into rap, rock and soul, with over-the-top eclecticism remaining the primary focus.
Rinocerose's U.S. debut, Installation Sonore, introduces a live-band element to the signature French house groove made famous by Gallic producers Daft Punk and Cassius.
Veterans of the Montpellier, France, indie-rock scene, psychologists-by-day Jean-Phillippe and Patou (born Patrice Carrie) founded Rinocerose in the mid-'90s and set out to create house music using only guitars. Soon after, the group added programmer Johnny Palumbo to fill the sonic gaps with a variety of sounds.
Rinocerose spent the rest of the decade building an impressive reputation in their home country by gigging with a 10-member ensemble made up of three guitarists, a bassist, a percussionist, a flautist, a synthesizer player and a drummer, in addition to Jean-Phillippe and Patou.
Installation Sonore marks a revisit to the band's earlier songs, such as the French standard " 'Rock Classics' Volume 1" (RealAudio excerpt ), a textured house tune likely to incite a mosh pit.