Sonic Reducer

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Happening is an ambient voyage through a strange, drug-induced dream. It’s a transcendent journey, through the wonderful bliss of congealing sound, from one’s dreary reality to being drunk on some street in Rio de Janeiro, the towering lights from foreign buildings blinding your eyes. Gale’s smooth trumpet is eerily reminiscent of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (1969) and On the Corner (1972) sessions, but this album is a modern interpretation of avant-garde work, with more rock elements and a Latin feel. The afro-funk percussion gives life to a feeling reflected in the fantastical album artwork, the feeling that you’re somehow slipping … from … reality … [TG]

Justice Cross (Ed Banger Records)

Justice’s Cross might be a dance remake of the Bible. With songs titled "Genesis" and "Waters of Nazareth," it’s hard to distinguish if this French duo is really trying to push a Christian message or just named the album after the world’s most famous religious symbol. Whatever the case, these boys know how to make good techno. Justice digs deep into electronica past, utilizing disco beats and some major distortion—Daft Punk comes to mind, but only slightly. If they have a hidden message within the grooves, calling us to follow the Lord to salvation, we’ll be following … dancing our f#%king a$$e$ off! [AD]

Suzanne Vega Beauty & Crime (Blue Note Records)

Her first release in six years! Surely it’s not this overproduced, dull, yawn-inviting thing. Let’s ignore it and pretend there’s another on the horizon, a release not so hit-or-miss lyrically, where her delicate, wistful voice shines—not this well-rendered yet insipid background music. The lifelong New Yorker penned an album dedicated to her city, pre- and post-9/11, and most of the time it hits its mark, if only barely. I’m all for a Vega comeback, but it’s too bad this is it. [MD]

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