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Lewis Parker
Masquerades & Silhouettes

The latest release on Massive Attack's Melankolic label--Lewis Parker's Masquerades & Silhouettes--borrows lots of Tricky's tricks but lacks his depth and slinky sexiness. Like Tricky, Parker fuses a haunting, gothic soundscape to rough, raspy hip-hop vocals and surreal samples. Every song on the album has a similar formula--dark, swirling sounds and snatches of cinematic dialogue roiling under Parker's hard, angry voice. There's something appealing (at least to American ears) about Parker's thick Cockney accent, but he seems to almost be spitting out his banal lyrics. Parker's skills as a musician far outweigh his vocal talents--in the future, maybe he'll take another cue from Tricky and find a velvet-throated collaborator to give voice to his fury.

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Various Artists
Loop: The Cut and Paste Groove Collection
Pop Mafia

Besides being a fantastic compilation in its own right, Loop: The Cut and Paste Groove Collection is a great introduction to the Bay Area's downbeat-experimental-trip-hop scene. Featuring cuts by local acts including the Grassy Knoll, Halou, Honeypot and Meat Beat Manifesto (as well as several tracks from national and international underground groups), Loop abounds with sinuous, sensuous funk, swirling electronic lullabies and quirky pastiche. Especially impressive is Halou's "Only You," a breathy, intensely romantic ambient ballad. I'd never heard of Halou before; now I can't wait to see the group live and hear its album when it comes out in January. What more can you ask from a sampler than to introduce you to a new favorite?

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From the September 7-20, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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