For the last couple of years, Herv Salters has been the secret weapon of Bay Area hip-hop collective Quannum, supplying vintage keyboard sounds for Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, and Lifesavas. Now the French-born, Berkeley-based musician steps out front, releasing a solo album of playful, funky hip-hop, composed entirely with Clavinet, Hammond, Rhodes, and other old-school synths. Recorded leisurely between 2000 and 2003 in various bedrooms and basements, Cliquety Kliqk has a trippy, laid-back vibe, a modern updating of the stoned soul picnic. Each tune is layered with multiple organ parts, occasionally approximating a creepy carousel or porno soundtrack, the thick hooks weaving in and out of the synthesized percussion and the glitchy noises, buoyed occasionally by Salters' dreamy vocals. The feel remains wonderfully retro-cool, even when Lateef the Truth Speaker offers lines describing drug addiction ("Facing That Void"), romantic mathematics ("Take You Out Tonight"), and sci-fi anxiety ("Brain Collage"). Looking back is looking forward, or, as Salters sings, "Techno kid don't act so hard/Where you put your decks once there was a bard."
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