Neotropic La Prochaine Fois

Riz Maslen becomes a more dramatic and distinguished producer with each project. As Neotropic, she takes her cinematic sensibilities, appreciation for found sound, and love of visuals to the next level with this third album for the N-Tone label. Sold as a CD and CD-ROM package, La Prochaine Fois is both Riz Maslen's film and soundtrack. The film itself is a beautifully edited, experimental travelogue, featuring images captured while Maslen traveled over recent years. Offering impressions from tour buses, experiences of urban architecture and rural beauty, dancing lights and loads more, the film is a moodier road movie than most. Not surprisingly, the accompanying soundtrack contributes greatly to the pace and tone, embellishing and enhancing occasionally to the point of propelling the "story line." While the album has a soundtrack feel, it also stands on its own as a dramatic, abstract and thoughtful listen. First and foremost, La Prochaine Fois is an exploration of emotion, an offering of ideas. The sound may at first leave Neotropic fans feeling a little adrift as signature beats have given way to a more organic, post rock-meets-electronic approach, but repeated listens shed light upon Maslen's heightened storytelling skills. Collaborations with artists such as Verve guitarist Nick McCabe and former Swans vocalist Jarboe add to the effect, particularly with the delicate, lovely and haunting "Cornershop Candy" and the delay-laden, positively dreamy "The Man Who Catches Clouds." "Closer to the Sun" is also a gem, offering a more stripped-down, earthy Neotropic. Beaming in from a different Neo-planet altogether is "Memories," an abstract, next-level hip-hop burner featuring Shorti rhyming over tripped-out beats and even trippier sounds. Few artists understand that now is both tomorrow and yesterday to the extent that Riz Maslen does. Till next time indeed. (Ninja Tune)