Cedille Vu Du Large

For the very little that we in North America have come to know about France’s hip-hop scene over the years, what hasn’t been completely lost on us is the nation’s tendency of being sonically on point. Seven-piece hip-hop/jazz outfit Cedille certainly maintain that tradition with the disc Vu Du Large, a record on which the individual musicians are actually encouraged to explore rather than being relegated to muted second fiddle status by the mic work going on up front. Complex orchestrations filled out by string melodies, horn solos, harp washes and tricky rhythms carry this detailed set far beyond the realm of simple beats and rhymes. Stuttered slow-burner "Harmonie” leaves hip-hop behind altogether and floats off into Cinematic Orchestra territory by the tracks end, with each player dancing around the established phrase over a faint chorus of chanting voices. In fact, what seem to be most at odds with this recording are the MCs themselves, with one gruff voice in particular stepping all over the rhythm section at various points throughout the disc. That said, when the dynamics work, Cedille’s jazzed up approach to hip-hop makes for some interesting listening. (Contract Killers)