Released 5 February 2016
After 20 years of programming electronic beats, Richard Blair, chief ‘stepper, had reached a point where he felt there was nothing new to be said in that area; a point of global homogeneity where everything sounded the same.
The inspiration for the new sound comes from the idea that there were many incredible dance bands before the electronic revolution in the 80s and 90s – the great ‘orquestas’ from Colombia, Haiti, Trinidad, Cuba and Africa. Sidestepper wanted to create an organic sound that goes back to that tradition. It’s still a dance band, but now the beats are made with hand drums, seeds and shakers, kalimbas, flutes and guitar, driving the melodic vocals. A minimalist, modal and groovy sound, electro acoustic with elements of dub and the ever present analogue synth bass. Strong and groovy, timeless and fluid, there is a clear vision of where the band can go from here and how to do it. There is a depth and coherence to the sound, the vibe, attitude and look of the band; it feels solid and rooted.
* * * * The first best album of summer 2016.
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* * * * …dreamy and captivating magic.
Made in the laid-back barrios of Bogota, the new album juxtaposes tracks rooted in the irresistible and intricate local beats, driven by delicately played hand drums and other percussion. This is music that flows like water.
The Arts Desk Online (UK)