"Creating Patterns" is the 2nd album by 4hero and one which I was eagerly anticipating after their groundbreaking "Two Pages" album. Unfortunately this album struggled to deliver, under pressure from the weight of expectations. I wanted more organic, jazzy drum n bass complemented by vocals, but 4hero were moving away from drum n bass and focusing more on live performance music.
The opening track "Conceptions" has suitably varied and lush instrumentation with a downtempo jazzy beat.... but....without much development in the melody and no vocals, nearly 6 minutes is beginning to push it a little. Still not bad.
The 2nd track "Time" features the spoken word artist Ursula Rucker again. Remembering how perfect she was on "Timeless" in the 1st album, I listened in anticipation. However, this time the lyrics were not quite as cohesive, the melody not as captivating.
Hmmm... and so it continued throughout the album. There was less of an emphasis on intricate beats and the melodies of the tracks were not that engaging, leaving an album that was good but not great. A collaboration with soul singer Jill Scott on "Another Day" had the potential to be really interesting. Unfortunately we are left with lyrics about not wanting to get up to go to work, wanting to stay home and play video games instead. Hmmm.... disapppointing.
Annoying tracks on the album exist (such as "Twothesme" and "2-BS-74628") with an electronic sci-fi feel, however unlike the 1st album, these tracks have been fused with live instrumentation making them more palatable.
The highlight track for me is "Ways Of Thought" which seems to pick up from where the 1st album left off. It combines vocals with a lively beat, string melody, bongos and double bass.
"Les Fleur" is also quite a beautiful track and was featured in a Baileys commercial but it is not original (it is a cover of a 1971 track by Minnie Riperton). 4hero have extended it with additional instrumental sections that work well.
This album struggled to live up to my expectations although it isn't a bad one by any means. If you are new to 4hero I would recommend you listen to the previous album "Two Pages" first, otherwise I recommend you try before you buy.
[Also reviewed on Ciao and Epinions]
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Golden Solitude
5 Another Day
6 Hold It Down
8 Something Nothing
9 Ways Of Thought
11 Blank Cells
12 Twelve Tribes
14 Les Fleur
15 The Day Of The Greys