dZihan & Kamien Gran Riserva

Following up the down-tempo mind funk of Freaks and Icon's and subsequent remix project Refreaked, Gran Riserva, with its strong Afro-beat, Turkish and Latin influences, moves dZihan & Kamien's mellow and sensual groove into a hip sort of global lounge. Here, the rhythm-rich jazzy vibe and relaxed funk makes for an artistically smooth and stylish production; however, Gran Riserva in the end does little more than showcase dZihan & Kamien's sophisticated musicality. Despite the live music vibe and orchestral interludes layered on percussive contributions from Miles Davis alumnus Sammy Figuero, there is very little here that is memorable. Gran Riserva is essentially background music. The catchy Bossa-flavoured opening track "Stiff Jazz" and the shuffling groove, along with the Jamaican toasting of General Santana on "Sliding," are highlights, but the remainder is more or less dinner music electronica. While dZihan & Kamien's sound has a bit more global charge and funk than the muted electro-groove tones of Tosca, Gran Riserva as a whole is just a bit too settled in its musical sophistication to offer much beyond cultured lounge. (Six Degrees)