Pineapple Corner was available in France a year ago,but has only now got a UK release date. It is a nu-jazz collaborationbetween DJ Soul G and musician Tony Match and is fresh and interesting, ifdisappointing.
What exactly is nu-jazz? On this album it’s a littlebit of this (jazz), a little bit of that (world music/ambient), and a littlebit of the other (hip-hop and jungle). It’s not an easy combo to pull off,and Soul G and Tony don’t always succeed, but that’s not for lack ofambition.
The collection starts on its musical high-point, azenith that the boys never reach again in pure head-bopping terms. GrassTrack has great beats – something that is echoed throughout the whole album.They underlay a vibe of ’60s film title credits music with some groovy kidsdriving their car through London, and there’s some fine filtering/panning ofthat loop.
The next piece is an example of clever productionlacking musical sparkle. A Voice in the Air is undoubtedly original with itsdub beat, hip-hop vocals, bubbling bass, deep electric piano, dust/scratchsounds and another ’60s-kids loop. But it’s not a great tune. The same couldbe said of Mystical Circle which follows.
The fourth track Aliens gives some insight into theproblem – it’s the recipe. Soul G and Tony Match are pushing the limits ofgenre here, but Aliens sounds muddy and ineffectively combined. The lads don’t have what it takes to pull off the synthesis consistently over eleven tracks.
And when they’re using up so much energy concentratingon mixing unusual genres in a nu-jazz combo, then the melody and rhythm loseout in the balance. They don’t have the energy to do a whole of album ofgreat music and original production.
But then tracks like Difficulties, Pineapple Cornerand Eternity show just how amazing the result can be when these guys pulloff both. Here is found a genuinely new sound, genuinely enjoyable songs,and a desire to forgive them for any failings in the rest of the album.
There is no doubt that the whole of the album shouldbe applauded for its ambition and innovation, but it falls short of beingthe release it could have been. Apart from some standout tracks, it’s acollection of brilliant production ideas which aren’t quite carried throughto be the songs they had the potential to become.