City Paper is not for tourists
The syncopated sounds of jungle and breakbeat techno are finally gaining acceptance with those outside of the future-friendly, Day-Glo rave scene, partially because jungle is no longer relying solely on the frantic rhythms and intermittent bass lines that once defined it. Artists like Squarepusher (fusion jazz jungle), Spring Heel Jack (mod soundtrack jungle), and Omni Trio (mechano-funk jungle) are investigating a more traditionally musical approach to composition. On Omni Trio’s second record, the drums still dominate, but the bass lines are extended melodic ideas rather than three-note bombs dropped at the end of tricky rhythmic passages. Both “Who Are You” and “Astral Plane” sound like something Herbie Hancock might have worked on had the technology been available to him during Headhunters. “Haunted Kind” is a genuinely aching breakbeat ballad, its synth-strings mournfully scraping across the drum pattern. In addition to having a great title, “Trippin’ on Broken Beats” manages to mix ’70s disco, ’80s synth sounds, and ’90s rhythms into a jazzy groover playfully recalling the excesses of each genre without falling prey to them. The annoying aspects of Omni Trio’s first album—specifically the screeching-glossolaliac soul singer and the snatches of inert George Winston–quality piano—appear only occasionally, and their placement in the mix is mostly tactful and appropriate. The majority of Science is mad.