Album Reviews

Soul G & Tony Match – Pineapple Corner

(EastWest) UK release date: 23 June 2003

Soul G & Tony Match - Pineapple Corner Pineapple Corner was available in France a year ago, but has only now got a UK release date. It is a nu-jazz collaboration between DJ Soul G and musician Tony Match and is fresh and interesting, if disappointing. What exactly is nu-jazz? On this album it’s a little bit of this (jazz), a little bit of that (world music/ambient), and a little bit 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 of ambition.

The collection starts on its musical high-point, a zenith 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 kids driving their car through London, and there’s some fine filtering/panning of that loop.

The next piece is an example of clever production lacking musical sparkle. A Voice In The Air is undoubtedly original with its dub beat, hip-hop vocals, bubbling bass, deep electric piano, dust/scratch sounds and another ’60s kids loop. But it’s not a great tune. The same could be said of Mystical Circle which follows.

The fourth track Aliens gives some insight into the problem – it’s the recipe. Soul G and Tony Match are pushing the limits of genre 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 concentrating on mixing unusual genres in a nu-jazz combo, then the melody and rhythm lose out in the balance. They don’t have the energy to do a whole of album of great music and original production.

But then tracks like Difficulties, Pineapple Corner and Eternity show just how amazing the result can be when these guys pull off 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 should be applauded for its ambition and innovation, but it falls short of being the release it could have been. Apart from some standout tracks, it’s a collection of brilliant production ideas which aren’t quite carried through to be the songs they had the potential to become.

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Soul G & Tony Match – Pineapple Corner