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December 2003

Beat Kids
Open Rhythm System
Uncle Junior

Avant-jazz drummer Guillermo E. Brown has caught wind of broken-beat's Afro-futuristic rhythms. He's no stranger to electronica, having already participated in such avant-jazz/electronica hybrids with Spring Heel Jack, not to mention his own idiosyncratic Thirsty Ear CD, Soul at the Hands of the Machine. On The Beat Kids' entrancing Open Rhythm System (Uncle Junior), Brown, along with bassist Keith Witty, vibraphonist and flutist Yusuke Yamamoto and vocalist and poet Latasha Natasha Diggs, demonstrates his affinity for broken beat on the skittering "Gimme Back My Activator" and the bouncy social-commentary track "Juggle." Still, his bugged-out concoctions would sound more at home inside, say, the Whitney Museum's Biennial, especially on the hazy "Song for Legolas," which includes haunting vocalese from Diggs, and the colliding sonic collages of "Channel 9 Reprise." From Astral Space to Art Place, these Beat Kids wonderfully connect the links between ethereal avant-jazz and earthy, butt-spanking club beats.

Originally published in December 2003
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