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James’ first release with Kraak is a five track ep taken from the forthcoming album 'Crossanova'. Leaving behind the deep lounge roots of his debut album 'Four Shades of Beige' (2004), 'Crossanova' skis around the slopes, skipping from downtempo funk to global go-go, acid jazz to cosmic soul, mambo to psychedelia, freestyling all the way.
The ep opens with 'Shapeshifter' a masterful piece of downtempo funk. A deep samba groove overplayed with infectious beats, spiky clavinet & rocking horns gives the track a trippy feel like you've already been listening to it for hours.
'Fez fuzz' is the first of two tracks featuring James on accordion. This gypsy/cha cha crossover sounds like the soundtrack to some old Houdini movie. Doors open & close & we're treated to glimpses of some drama just off to the side of the stage. Wierd & wonderful.
Next up & hot wired to the dancefloor is 'Heard it thru the bassline'. The track starts with a Brazilian forro groove set up by surdo, triangle and accordion which builds tantalizingly into a full-tilt global workout. Horn stabs, vocal hooks and, of course, a bassline from hell!
'Mambo Duro' is a slice of latin soul, dubbed out & funked up with afro horns, salsa piano & a crazy mambo beat. James is joined here by Gabriel Walter on piano & Gassan Ahmed on flute.
The ep ends on a calmer note with the dreamlike 'Velvet Flares', a piece of slow hypno- lounge straight from some 60's sci-fi movie. A swaying curtain of saxes, cocktail piano &
trippy voices reminding us that 'we too are on a quest to better ourselves'.