Ninja Tune – 2001 – 52 minutes
One of the most startling facts about this album (apart from the music, of course) is that in the peculiarly masculine world of electronica, the enchanting, epic sound of Neotropic is a largely one-woman project. As well as recording, in her own right, Riz Maslen has remixed for Low, Mantronix and DJ Food. 'La Prochaine Fois' is released on Ntone, a sub label of Ninja Tune, home to prolific music-makers DJ Food and Coldcut. While the latter are the curators of chopped up breakbeats and turntablist trickery, the Neotropic mode of music is sublimely introverted.
Riz Maslen's hypnotic sketches are musical postcards from forgotten landscapes and outposts. Each song journeys through rhythm and time; 'Train To Katoomba' takes a trip to Tortoise-ville via 'Dead Can Dance'. There are atmospheric vocals on many of the tracks but without overkill. 'Cornershop Candy' twists sugared vocals around orchestral swirls. Guitars and electronica form a musical cascade that sees Nick McCabe, formerly of The Verve, providing the guitars.
Neotropic's compositions get inside your head and under your skin – like the equivalent of an aural body rub. They are trip-hoppy, then jazzy, ambient then orchestral. Maslen was raised in the country, and there are rustic sprinklings over many of the songs. This album is a perfect antidote to world-weariness and the plethora of substandard musical out there. La prochaine fois you're in a half-decent record shop – pick up a copy.
Tracklisting: Sunflower Girl – Cornershop Candy – Train To Katoomba – Still – Slink – The Man Who Catches Clouds – Closer To The Sun – In Reverse Order – Je Suis – Rote- Micro-Cosmic –Money For Old Rope - Memories