Owusu & Hannibal Living With

The Danish duo of Philip Owusu and Robin Hannibal take an inspired and, at times, near-genius crack at future soul with their debut disc, the self-referentially titled Living With. The two producers cook up a lush blend of heavily effected acoustic bits and completely digitised lead instrumentation that combine to create a sound that’s both delicate and dirty, especially on the bottom end. Sonic references follow some of the biggest names in soul music of the past three decades, though each artist serves as a springboard to the pair’s entirely personal and unique creations. The slight Maxwell and "Human Nature”-era Michael Jackson sounds hinted at on "LeFox” and "Watch,” and the clear Dilla backlash beat of "A Million Babies” allow you to see the lengths to which people have taken those initial ideas. The clubby, old school R&B feel of "Upstairs Downstairs” is at once familiar and entirely progressive, the difference coming in the enveloping richness and warmth of the abundant synth sounds. Owusu & Hannibal even go in for an airy and ethereal version of the Beach Boys’ "Caroline No,” with an electric bass and trumpet combo provided to clear sounds amidst a wash of echoed atmospherics and dreamy reverberations. A thoroughly mind-bending first pass! (Ubiquity)