Sidestepper More Grip

More Grip is a well crafted study of various forms of Latin grooves. On first listen, it sounds as though there’s an attempt to be too careful, but like the groundbreaking salsa recordings of the early ’70s, it improves with age. It takes a while to acclimatise oneself to Sidestepper’s world. What at first sound like exceptionally clearly recorded salsa and cumbia with resonant analogue bass tones reveals more with each listen. It’s hard to tell where certain samples, mostly of the percussive variety, end and where the live instruments begin — always a good sign. The instrumentation is pretty diverse — check the fiddle playing a lead role in “Me Muero.” There is a conscious attempt to shy away from breakbeats overlaying the original rhythmic intent of the song. However, the breaks are injected into the middle vamps of certain songs on the off-beats. The effect of this is not unlike Sly Dunbar’s metronomic, but oddly accented technique. Certain tracks seem especially relevant, and superior, to Sly and Robbie’s latest mambo inflected dancehall grooves. “Linda Manigua” is an outstanding dub track that would go down well even at the rootsiest affair. A subtle and engaging CD. (Palm Pictures)