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Two Pages by 4hero was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 1998 and is a ground breaking album in my opinion, taking drum n bass in a new jazzy, organic direction.
The album comprises of 2 distinct halves which may frustrate the listener. One half contains beautiful melodic music, making heavy use of strings and complicated drum patterns. Sweet vocals are complemented by jazzy instruments such as rhodes and double bass - giving a laid back feel. The theme is focused on Mother Earth, this complements the organic feel of the tracks. Some of the tracks are just instrumentals but feature excellent recorded performances with good melodies. The other half is very electronic drum n bass with a sci-fi feel and sounds cheesy and dated. These 2 halves don't mesh well in my opinion and prevent the album from being outstanding as a whole.
The opening track Loveless is for me pretty much perfect - an album highlight - and is one I return to time and time again. It features the spoken word artist Ursula Rucker talking about the destruction of Mother Earth. This is complemented by excellent double bass, harps, strings and intricate drum beats.
This is a beautiful album for relaxing to if you are willing to skip the retro sci-fi tracks that try to take the music in a different direction.
[Also reviewed on Epinions and Ciao]
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Loveless - Ursula Rucker, 4hero
2 Golden Age Of Life
4 Third Stream
6 Escape That
7 Mother Solar (Part 1)
8 Spirits In Transit
10 The Action - 4hero, Ish (aka "Butterfly")
11 Star Chasers
12 Wishful Thinking
13 Normal Changing World
14 Universal Love
15 We Who Are Not As Others
17 Pegasus 51
18 Three Thousand And Five