Various Metropass

Whereas the last Public Transit Recordings release, Code 416, showcased a wide range of sounds — drum & bass, trip-hop, house, ambient, Latin, R&B — the four tracks on Metropass bring them to a level of beautiful synthesis. Thematically consistent with the title's journey-into-sound concept, the tracks incorporate fragments of these and other genres and compose them in a sophisticated manner that brings the elements to unfold out of the mix, and in different ways each time. Moonstarr's mellow ode to the "Scarborough RT" rides on a chilled-out hip-hop break, while bossa-style percussion and a hazy loop of vocals smoke over top. Genetic plays a rhythmic game of hop-scotch at junglist speeds on "Hooky," with fuzzy synths harmonically rubbing the volatile mix down to a more sensual state. The transitions are most heartfelt though on Murr and Rosina's "Last Stop," when a crisp break-beat filters out of the atmospheric groove and responds to the latter's lyrical narrative of lost-love with fierce, but melancholic tension. All of this is a contrast however with the simplicity of Audix's "Polyrhythms." The track lifts lecture-samples from a how-to-play-drums record, and educates the listener on the timely connections between hard bop drum breaks and b-boy electro-beats, while using straight sound-clash techniques. There's a lot of emotion behind these grooves, but as in the case of Audix, it's attitude that drives the beats forward. (Public Transit)