Emancipator Safe In The Steep Cliffs

Northwest ambient fans can now find refuge between Telefuzz and Don Verbrilli releases in the smooth campfire electronica of Emancipator. The dense sound palette of Safe In The Steep Cliffs, rendered from original recordings of guitar, violin, banjo and mandolin, rides soulful hip-hop beats, and the album's organic vibe keeps a super-cohesive, almost never changing tone. Peaks and variations do emerge in the orchestral bluegrass climax of "Old Devil," the simple sax and string blending in "Bury Them Bones" and the drum & bass soft wash of "Are." Laced with licks from guest musician and jazz artist Uyama Hiroto, it all adds up to ultra-easy-listening. What keeps things out of the elevator though is the album's classic hip-hop foundation and smart studio mix of multi-layered instrumentation. (Autonomous)