By Liz Tracy
By David Rolland
By Alex Rendon
By Terrence McCoy
By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
Kid Loco Presents Jesus Life For Children Under 12 Inches
Trip-hop never quite caught on in the U.S., in large part because of its subtlety; the boom-bap of hardcore rap provides immediate gratification, while the sonics associated with its more psychedelic cousin take time to blow minds. The masses, apparently, don't like to wait. In France, however, the form has spawned mixologists such as DJ Cam and Kid Loco, who understand that sometimes faster isn't better.
On his first disc for Atlantic, the thirtysomething Jean-Yves Prieur, (a.k.a. the Kid) doesn't rush things. The opening track, "The Viaduct," by the Pastels, is an unhurried slab of melody that Loco smoothes out with relaxed synthetic whooshes. Uriel's "You Who Are Reading Me Now" is even more deliberate, dribbling chiming keyboard arpeggios over a sonic bed just made for lingering, while Polar's "Bipolar Dream" emerges as a moody seducer that slinks along under the power of soft-spoken female vocals and a rhythm that's more of a roll than a beat.
Rather than precluding pop, Prieur's style infuses it with an unexpected majesty: "A Little Soul," in which Pulp's Jarvis Cocker mopes about his absent wife, could have been a typical genre piece, but it attains a certain grandeur with Loco's hand on the knob. Better yet, his approach doesn't overwhelm the intriguing artists with whom he chooses to work. Tracks by Talvin Singh ("Traveller"), Badmarsh + Shri ("The Air I Breathe") and Mogwai ("Tracy") retain the characteristics associated with their creators, but they also blend into the compellingly languid vibe of the platter. The only misstep is Cornu's "Youpi," which punctures a lovely atmosphere with occasional shrieks that seem to have been piped in from another record. Cool out, missy; you're bringing me down.
Unfortunately Jesus Life's abundant attributes won't turn it into an American hit, nor will CD artwork dominated by nude shots of women suspended in the zone between ennui and ecstasy (pleasant though they may be). But the disc remains a journey worth taking for folks who enjoy climaxes more when they take a while to happen. -- Michael Roberts