Kieran Hebden is an electronica performer better known as Four Tet; drummer Steve Reid is a veteran of 1960s and '70s R&B and free jazz scenes. They initially seem like an unlikely pairing, but not when one considers the cross-pollination between jazz, electronica, and indie-rock scenes over the past couple of decades. On NYC, you'll get six freely improvised duets — but this isn't just a riotous free-for-all. The throbbing menace of "Lyman Place" and the linear, restless "Arrival" bring to mind '70s Kraut-rockers Neü! in their prime, with echoes of The Velvet Underground. "Departure" juxtaposes ominous background rhythms and a shimmering downpour of notes (evoking the sounds of the kalimba/African thumb piano and xylophones of minimalist Steve Reich) with powerful drumming that crackles like a far-off but slowly approaching storm. The mutant funk of "25th Street" is Sly & the Family Stone getting down with lil' Stevie Reich. For those with adventurous ears, this far-out project is a musical gem that warrants three thumbs up.
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