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Wicked: Sound of Breakbeat Garage by Mutant Sound System
Description of Wicked: Sound of Breakbeat Garage from Mutant Sound System
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When jungle started out, it was part and parcel of the house scene--an odd breakbeat mutation that wasn't too proud to flaunt extended diva samples and cheesy piano breakdowns. Since then, jungle has excised the flashier elements in favor of an unrelenting, hardcore brutality. That has its own fascination, but the emergence of breakbeat garage--vocal house tracks with antic rhythm programming that lands on everything but the 4/4--reminds us of the road not taken. Wicked, a compilation of 10 breakbeat garage tracks, gives American audiences a first chance to hear this London phenomenon in full flower. It's a strange variation on eight or nine different clubland trends that, like most such innovations, seems to demand completely new ways of dancing. But anyone who's paid attention to Timbaland's rhythmic inventions shouldn't find it too disorienting. Of course, anyone who's paid attention to Timbaland might also miss the presence of actual songcraft--there's not an "Up Jumps Da Boogie" or "Are You That Somebody?" to be found here. Which is why this is club music of the highest order, but radio fare by no stretch of the imagination. At least not yet. --Jeff Salamon