Poets of Rhythm Discern/Define

Lyrics Born's adventure in funk on "I Changed My Mind" was backed up by the baddest groove makers Germany's ever seen, the Poets of Rhythm. The Latyrx MC stumbled upon this gem of an outfit while crate digging in New Orleans, and was impressed with the way they captured that raw sound of the '70s. The album in question was Hotpie & Candy, and now the Poets have released their world-wide effort through Quannum Projects, with the help of Lyrics Born, as executive producer, and DJ Shadow, on editing duties. Right off the bat, you can hear why the primarily hip-hop-based label is so keen on the Poets, delivering ultra tight grooves as if all the beats that hit your eardrums are loops lifted from dusty vinyl. The title track leads off the full-length with lazy, hypnotic beats accentuated with repetitive keys, chunky wah-wah and silk-like horns. The cut "Plus Plus" could be eased into a blaxploitation film soundtrack without anyone blinking an eye, with its spy-like hooks, and "The Jaunt," with a constant delicate flute leading the way, is capped-off nicely with a rather catchy horn section. The instrumental bliss is also greeted with the occasional vocals, which instead of taking away from the sound acts as an added instrument slipped into the flow. The Poets of Rhythm seem extremely in tune with each other as a multi-member gathering, keeping the sound airtight and consistently sharp for the long haul. This is the stuff hip-hop heads would nick their breaks from had it been recorded 30 years ago. (Quannum)