Quartertones Hidden In Plain Sight

The Quartertones might primarily be a live band, with stage charisma like that exuded by guitarist Jimmy Green it’s difficult to translate to disc. Still, Hidden In Plain Sight is a tight little debut of funky jazz grooves rooted in the traditional sounds of hip-hop. Planet Pea’s drum programming provides a backbone that is fleshed out by Green’s guitar, C5K0’s bass, the occasional session-musician, and well-integrated cuts by DJ Serious. A bit more of the latter wouldn’t be a bad thing and neither would more appearances by singer Ms. Bates, a fairly recent addition to the group. Although the album is mostly chilled instrumentals with whisperings of female vocals, the Quartertones have also acted as backing band to many a rapper and represent that side, too. Mr. Mike E raps metaphorically about the seasons on "Warmer,” and Theology 3 stresses the importance of family on "The Drop.” But, it all comes together on "Casablanca,” a jazz-hop cover of Kenji Sawada’s "Casablanca Dandy” with Green and Ms. Bates harmonising in Japanese, and Planet Pea stepping in for a rap verse. Ms. Bates also sings her way through a cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s "Purple.” Instrumentals "Una Mas,” "Here Comes The Fuzz (Remix)” and "Caffeine” also stand out, resulting in a great soundtrack to living. (Independent)