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Fox Trot Mannerisms


This the debut full solo release by Brooklyn-based producer and MC Vanese Smith aka Pursuit Grooves, and her first for the Tectonic label. Unexpected, and yet somehow perfectly at home on Tectonic. Props to Pinch for his consummate A&R skill sets, though no doubt this would also bless labels such as Motown, Stones Throw, Hyperdub or even Rush Hour's Beat Dimensions series, where Ms. Grooves debuted. In these times of overhyped one-trick, nu-jacks it's a rare blessing indeed to discover such an accomplished and original artist with a vision and flow to ignite flames for all the true-school heads and still bring new ears to this stylish music. Altogether it makes the best soundtrack to midnight inner-city motoring, it will work brilliantly in beat-driven club situations with its effortless production science to the fore. "Pressure" drops like a lost Erykah Badu & Madlib collaboration, Miss Smith's vocal here is even a little reminiscent of Badu's considerable stylings, but watch out girlfriend, she flows with the best in a style somewhat similar to Bahamadia. "Start Somethin'" rocks the downtempo beat-down harder than most, and is the most electronic-feeling cut on this album -- vicious fuzz bass lines, filthy claps, oiled snares and block-rocking cut-up beats. Drop this in a DJ set and watch all crew get busy. If you had to pick a single highlight, then "Shabaps" might well be it. A heavyweight hip-hop roller, all luscious bass frequencies and cosmic synth drifts that keeps an upful tempo for maximum bugging fully on lockdown. "Whisper" dubs it heavy like a feather, all bubbling, Mantronik-style 808 beats with melting jazz piano drops and a sweetly mysterious, softly-spoken vocal. "Tweezers" adds a 2-step electro flex to an L.A./Detroit hip-hop feel -- mind-blowing stuff on headphones, only still built for the biggest systems. "Mister Softee" is perhaps the most traditional-sounding hip-hop cut -- turn out the lights, because the delivery here is world class '010 -- we reach the outro refreshed by a cooling breeze on a mad hot summer day. This album is big with Kode9 and company already, so get on this soon!