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The City Beat: After Dark

A dreamy, detailed album which pulses with the kind of rhythms that creep into your subconscious and make you drive faster, The City Beat’s After Dark (Permanent Wave PWCD 2001; 40:05) is ideal road music for post-sunset cruising. Conceived, written and performed by Joe Tansin of the ’70s group Badfinger, “After Dark” boasts inventive, atmospheric tracks cut from a Tangerine Dream mold, but with unexpected textures added to the electronics. Opening track “City of Lights” pulses with horn-like sounds, held up in contrast to acoustic guitar. The overall effect is a slick, multi-threaded motion. From there, Tansin dabbles in flamenco flourish (“Gypsy Soul”) and woodsy, percussive undertones (“Past Midnight”), but spins these elements into his stylishly modern rhythmic atmospheres. This approach, which also includes sounds of distant thunder, wanders close to New Age territory, but never quite crosses the line into the ethereal, thanks to Tansin’s classic roots. For example, “Way Downtown” is anchored in a dreamy-cool deep bass, but Tansin fires off the lead as a lively rock strut. His compositions deliver as promised-an illustrative reflection of dynamic city life, built on rich history but pulsing with modern life and future possibility.

Originally Published