Huge Voodoo Affordable Magic

DB Grant has been experimenting with sounds through new wave, punk, contemporary music, and more recently hip-hop since he started making music as Huge Voodoo 30 years ago. Central to his creative ingenuity is his Auto-Dope Tape Loop Performance System, in which specially edited and modified tapes are played through eight portable tape recorders to create new music. A regular cast of programmers and musicians join Grant in creating lo-fi space grooves that are bootylicious funk one moment and drug-induced abstraction the next. It’s equal doses space rock and jazz over murky hip-hop drums. Right when you think "Soul Slide” is over, El-P jumps in, mostly smooth flow, but Mike Ladd, a regular collaborator, disappoints with a phoner on "NYPD Blues.” Spoken word fares better with Dominique Lowell’s punky, feminist rant, "If I Were a Man,” and Adm Clayton Powell Jr’s bluesy "Keep the Faith, Baby.” Jesse Butz adds some mournful trumpet to a haunting space scene on "Duet,” while Mike Mesmer’s guitar work spices up a repetitive drum loop on "Melo.” And there are definitely other moments where the drum loops become monotonous. Still, Affordable Magic is mostly a successful experiment, but best heard on lonely evenings with the lights low. Just don’t expect traditional song structure. (Tri-Eight)