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October 1997

The Herbaliser
Blow Your Headphones
Ninja Tune/Zen Ed

With mainstream hip-hop gradually wandering out of the R&B-loop/remake funhouse (very gradually, that is) The Herbaliser's Blow Your Headphones (Ninja Tune, Zen Ed 28, 72:08) represents a fascinating path less taken. With DJ Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry at the controls, the disc spits out an almost disorienting range of sonic flavors, from the negative zone bounce of "Another Mother" to the thunderous jazz-waltz swing of "Mr. Chombee has the Flaw." The real star here, however, is female verbalist What What (a.k.a. Tsidi Ibrahim, also of Natural Resources), whose gravity-defying flow highlights tracks like "The Blend" and "New + Improved."

Originally published in October 1997
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