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Record Review


The compositions of South London's Steve Spacek -- accompanied by Edmund Cavill and Morgan Zarate -- are aural equivalents to pint-sized reproductions. Much the way the details of a miniature masterwork are not immediately apparent, Spacek's intricacies unfold upon closer study. However, with the trio's sophomore release, Spacek's compositions prove to be more than mere novelty in their minutiae. Spacek is pioneering a form of micro-soul, and it holds up admirably under the microscope.

Following 2001's deft spun debut Curvatia, Spacek has adopted and adapted the conventions of microhouse and broken-beat to deliver another nine, lush tracks of subtle shuffling splinters and crisp click. If it's possible, much of Hi-Tech is even sparer than the hovering hush of Curvatia. Yet within that minimalism is revealed a range of modes and moods.

Sharing as many qualities with Philadelphia's Vikter Duplaix and King Britt and Detroit's Jay Dee as with producers on Spacek's own side of the pond, Hi-Tech exhibits both the melodic, silky swing of hip-hop ("Motion Control"), the clipped cadence of microhouse ("I Know a Girl") and the delayed downbeat of trip-hop ("Amazing"). Spacek shares stutter and sweep with Matmos and Matthew Herbert, but remains set apart by his soft focus phrasing. An album held together as much by restraint as intricate rhythms, Vintage Hi-Tech is rooted in the contemporary, yet utterly unfettered by conventions.

Spacek plays MJQ Concourse Fri., June 6. Call for ticket price.

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