A Lake Of Teardrops

[a]Rob Swift[/a], we're frequently told over the course of this LP, is pretty handy with a pair of turntables....

Rob Swift, we're frequently told over the course of this LP, is pretty handy with a pair of turntables. And so he should be, as a former DMC world champion and headscratcher with respected New York vinyl tormentors the X-ecutioners.

But he wanted more: primarily to fuse his joy of decks with a proper band and so achieve a level of muso credibility rare in strictly turntablized circles, but also to elevate the humble Technics from lowly beat generator to official instrument. Much like trying to hide an elephant in your bedroom, though, the turntable, when jamming with a live group, enjoys a most distinctive presence. No bad thing, of course, especially when Swift cuts back and forth, splicing samples and breaks on sleek Shadow-y fare like 'What Would You Do' or deconstructs tracks to their most rudimentary on the piano and beats scratch-marathon that is 'Something Different'.

But a fundamental problem lies in the fact that full-band-meets-decks efforts such as 'Night Time', far from being the genre-busting collaborations MC Gudtyme boasts of, are standard procedure for, say, the Beasties or Jurassic 5. Even when Swifty pits his considerable skills against a live keyboard the result is little more than a Money Mark outtake. 'The Ablist' shows that Rob Swift can indeed have his cake and eat it. Its flavour, sadly, is plain old vanilla.
5 / 10

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