Kieran Hebden is an electronica performer better known as Four Tet; drummer Steve Reid is a veteran of 1960s and '70s R&B and free jazz scenes. They initially seem like an unlikely pairing, but not when one considers the cross-pollination between jazz, electronica, and indie rock scenes over the past couple of decades. On NYC, you'll get six freely improvised duets — but this isn't just a riotous free-for-all. The throbbing menace of "Lyman Place" and the linear, restless "Arrival" bring to mind '70s Krautrockers Neü! in their prime with echoes of the Velvet Underground. "Departure" juxtaposes ominous background rhythms and a shimmering downpour of notes (evoking the sounds of the kalimba/African thumb piano and xylophones of minimalist Steve Reich) with powerful drumming that crackles like a far-off but slowly approaching storm. The mutant funk of "25th Street" is Sly & the Family Stone getting down with lil' Stevie Reich. For those with adventurous ears, this far out project is a musical gem that warrants three thumbs up.
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