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Aim - Hinterland

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Grand Central - 2002 - 60 minutes

This exquisite album is the work of one fairly anonymous chap called Andy Turner. He first beguiled us with the tranquil hip-hop gem 'Just Passin' Through' which never made it on to the lauded but lacking 'Cold Water Music'. Despite some worthy tunes, it was a clinical debut merging stripped-down hip-hop and electronica and a title track commandeered by the advertising industry for a minimalist car ad.

'Hinterland' represents a return to form and a far superior collection of songs seeped in light and landscape. Recorded in Manchester and New York, these tracks combine the sparsity of open spaces with the vivid patterns of a metropolitan soundscape. The empty plains of 'Intro' yield to the magical fullness of 'The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice' where swirling but simple strings are tenderly blended with Kate Rogers' bewitching vocals.

The Grand Central watermark is faintly present at times but Turner extricates himself from it, reinventing his musical beginnings in a way that Rae & Christian failed with their second album. The album trips along a varied trajectory of finest melancholia to the choc-full-of-funk hip-hop of songs like 'No Restrictions' and 'The Omen'. 'Good Disease' is chilled vintage soul featuring Stephen Jones and samples of that conversation scene from Paris Texas.

The jazzy strut of 'Linctus' is understated purity and from here the album draws to a close with two geographic points of reference. The soothing tempo of 'From A Seaside Town' and 'Hinterland' carry the listener away and end a collection of tunes that rubberstamp Turner's flair for creating unique patterns of downtempo hip-hop.

Sinéad Gleeson

Track listing: Intro - The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice (featuring Kate Rogers) - What Do People Do All Day - No Restriction (featuring Souls of Mischief) - Fall Break - Guimar - Good Disease (featuring Stephen Jones) - The Omen (featuring Diamond D) - Linctus - Vipco - A Twilight Zone - From A Seaside Town - Hinterland

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