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Utopia Parkway

...[a]Live Human[/a] lean more towards the experimental, tracks lingering on and mutating further and further as they break through the radio-friendly three-minute barrier....

Ever since Q-Tip's pop remarked that hip-hop "reminded him of bebop" on A Tribe Called Quest's 'Abstractions', the relationship between jazz, funk and hip-hop has been explored comprehensively by outfits toting both 'proper' instruments and decks and samplers, from the Beasties and The Roots, through to this year's models, Rob Swift and Ozomatli.



What sets Live Human apart from such contemporaries is the breadth of influence and exploration displayed on this, their debut LP. For one thing, whereas the aforementioned acts use such a collisionist sound to create music to be consumed in a 'pop'-oriented form, Live Human lean more towards the experimental, tracks lingering on and mutating further and further as they break through the radio-friendly three-minute barrier.



Which is not to say this is a set of self-indulgent slack-ass jams; the likes of 'Step Up' and 'One Two Three' are lethally concise, despite their length, taut phunk so disciplined you can imagine James Brown himself leaning over 'em, threatening to issue a fine for any bum note. But then there's the more open-ended 'Antiprologue', a Sonic Youth-esque scree, and recent single 'Orange Bushmonkey Flower', which takes an instantly familiar old-skool loop and then proceeds to whup that sucker with vicious, Chemicals-esque funk till you can only identify it through dental records. Live Human are taking some giant steps; you'd be a fool not to follow 'em.
5 / 10

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