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[Off The Record]
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Solex
LOW KICK AND HARD BOP
(MATADOR)

Dutch sample meister Elisabeth Esselink imported Solex to the States just as a flood of witty cut-and-pasters was rising about the sound-collage ark, and the waters havenít crested yet. Solexís third full-length might have taken some unexpected and even semi-revolutionary turns designed to keep her ahead of her peers. But Low Kick and Hard Bop pretty much sets a bar for itself with the clever title, then clears the bar, then bounces off the mat and gets back up again.

Entertaining? Solex always is. "Honey (Amsterdam Is Not L.A.)" saunters along like a postmodern update of West Side Story, with a menacingly staccato rhythm, piano, and bursts of horn and double bass. In a dazzling show of musical flexibility, Esselink dishes out irresistible slices of twisted country ("Good Comrades Go to Heaven"), sexy surf íní roll ("Comely Row"), and Etch-a-Sketch blues ("Mere Impostors"), adjusting her voice accordingly. But before any momentum can build, a track like "Have You No Shame, Girl?" jumps in with harmonica bleats and a slick turntable beat, sounding like a refugee from an old Beck album. It also moves along at a pace that by this point on the disc has become monotonously familiar.

BY RICHARD A. MARTIN

Issue Date: November 1 - 8, 2001





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