Tosca Suzuki

Few artists write instrumentals that stick to your brain like flies to food. Richard Dorfmeister, one half of both Tosca and Kruder & Dorfmeister, is filled with such a talent. With collaborator, compatriot and childhood chum Rupert Huber, Dorfmeister formed the Tosca project in ’94. The duo understands the power of simplicity, consistently creating with a light touch and a funky, textured soul. Their music is understated, confident and easy like a Sunday morning, complete with catchy riffs, crisp percussion and thick, killer bass lines that inevitably inspire much humming and head nodding. Dedicated to Zen meditation master Shunryu Suzuki, this album picks up where ’97s Opera left off; it's filled with their infamously smooth grooves and mid-tempo beats, but has much more depth. "Annanas" is a sexy slice of slowed funk, a "Chocolate Elvis" for the hear-and-now — minus the vocals, but with much more warmth. "Ocean Beat" shares the already-classic Tosca sound, with a mumbled, bluesy vocal loop floating alongside lovely keys and clean snare sounds. The sensual, happy "Honey" lifts the album at the halfway mark; the closest thing to a vocal track, this one hums along with Latin percussion, boppy bass, a touch of flange and memorable melodies. Lest Suzuki rest too heavily on Tosca's trademark sounds and tempos, Huber and Dorfmeister do find room to experiment — with tablas, sustained notes and a stunning build on "The Key" and with the minimalism of "Pearl Off" being two highlights. A definite run-don't-walk purchase for fans old and new. (G-Stone)