Culture

CD REVIEW An Electronic Chill, Wired Jazz

With their first full-length title, Super Structure Baby, Keston and Westdal deliver a smooth and innovative electronic-downtempo jazz experience. The CD begins with simple Brazilian percussion on the first track, “Batada Do Mar,” and the song intensifies with various electronic tones and a distinguishable bass line, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Keston, a native of the United Kingdom, and Westdal, hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, infuse diverse styles of jazz with electronic music to create a global lounge ambience.

The album seems to be divided throughout between the two styles of Keston, known for his revival of the electric piano in club and hip-hop music, and that of Westdal, a funk jazz bassist. This dichotomy is seen in trippy songs such as “Polar” and “Battle of the Giant Robots,” an eerie reminder of ’80s music gone awry. Westdal’s influence becomes more apparent in “Sonny’s Cut,” creating a more chill mood to balance out some of the heavy use of the Rhodes piano.

With less reliance on the ’80s beats produced by the Rhodes piano, and more emphasis on their global sound, Keston and Westdal could have created a pure instrumental album near excellence. The duo has, however, created a distinct piece that meshes two sounds that are not often successfully combined.

Robin M. Carr can be contacted at

r.carr3@umiami.edu.

October 12, 2004

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