Ramachandra Borcar and the Stacked Deck Steel and Glass

Ramachandra Borcar is better known as Ramasutra, whose El Pipo Del Taxi disc a few years ago was one of the best global groove albums ever to come from Canada. Utilising the same attention to composition and subtle, natural sounding programming, Borcar works with a jazzy palette of ingredients for his current project: a soundtrack to a profile of famed modern architect Mies Van Der Rohe. Steel and Glass is performed by the Stacked Deck, a medium-sized jazz ensemble featuring some prominent Canadian artists such as pianist Jeff Johnston, reedsman Frank Lozano and drummer Thom Gossage. Steel and Glass is mostly played live, but the electronic augmentation adds to the hypnotic, noir-ish feel he's going for. Most tunes move along at a brisk pace, but in a 1950s-Parisian-basement-café, finger-snapping kind of way. United Future Organization or Cinematic Orchestra would be excellent reference points to the overall feel. As a soundtrack, it's an interesting approach to match up with the work of Van Der Rohe. His severely modernist architecture adorns the beautiful packaging of this disc, and leaves one wondering whether the subtle, swinging music within would be a good match for the brutally clean lines of his work. Regardless, Steel and Glass is more than just easy listening cocktail jazz in a Henry Mancini mode, it's first rate jazztronica. (Fusion III)