By Will Hermes, Entertainment Weekly
Finally, someone really gets this jazz-electronic fusion thing right. Shipp is a piano polymath whose thought-provoking records sometimes snub pleasure principles. Not this one. Folding the spacious tunefulness of 2001's New Orbit into the free-improv/digi-beat battlefield of last year's Nu Bop, he's made a perfect 41-minute album that balances wide-open melodic inventions with crisp, time-stopping grooves. For proof, witness ''Cohesion,'' where FLAM's shell-game electronics circle Gerald Cleaver's in-the-hip-hop-pocket drumming while Shipp turns a three-chord invocation into a mating ritual of spiraling runs and McCoy Tyner-ish cluster bombs. Bass giant William Parker lays intricate roots per usual, but the secret weapon is vibraphone vet Khan Jamal, whose harmonic sparkle frees Shipp to explore rhythms and embellish loops. BEAT POETICS Forthcoming team-ups with rap avant-gardists Anti-Pop Consortium (due Feb. 18) and El-P find Shipp further exploding the narrow, neocon, Wynton Marsalis vision of jazz possibility. Thanks, dude.
WHAT'S ROCKING OUR WORLD
& Anti-Pop Consortium Vs. Matthew Shipp)
When avant-rap collective ANTI-POP CONSORTIUM broke up last July, we should have known that restlessly creative group members M. Sayyid, High Priest, and BEANS wouldn't stay quiet for long. On his solo debut, TOMORROW RIGHT NOW (Warp), Beans drops deft poetry with the fastest flow this side of Bizzy Bone, backed by a shifting, angular mix of Casiotone synths and beats, postapocalyptic drones, and left-field samples. In other news, APC recently reunited to collaborate with jazz pianist MATTHEW SHIPP on ANTI-POP VS. MATTHEW SHIPP (Thirsty Ear). Shipp's licks meld easily with APC's electro-glitz, gloriously blurring the line between sounds made by man and machine. The loose song structures will lose less dedicated listeners, but those seeking hip-hop on a higher level need look no further.
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