Kenny Larkin The Narcissist

Kenny Larkin had the touch of jazz long before it became fashionable in electronic music, but it was always in a way that sounded intuitive. He’s much more conscious and forced about his affinity with the genre on The Narcissist. There are more break beats and drum samples at half-time tempos, but the sounds are a little hollow and static compared to his pre-junglist classic, "Funk in Space.” The gibberish vocals on the two "Fake French” tracks are intended as a hint to Larkin’s side-job as a stand-up comedian, but they don’t enliven things much either. It’s in the second-half of the disc that he returns the ground established on Azymuth (1994) and Metaphor (1996). He pumps up the tempo to house BPMs and cools the arrangements down with angular synth lines. Like Carl Craig and Stacey Pullen, Larkin loves his melodies, but he’s also taken to playing, rather than programming, them. He’s no jazz pianist, but there’s spontaneity in the tracks, making moments on "Nitefall” and "In the Meantime” as precious as those on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. (Art of Dance)