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Movement No. II

Joshua Gabriel
Movement No. II EP
(Music 372)

Joshua Gabriel is somewhat of a Renaissance man. Not only is he a musician, but he's a displaying artist and a short film maker as well. Movement No. II is his second EP (he's currently at work on a full-length) and it highlights not only his turntable and mixing skills, but his live abilities as well.

Brimming over with his artwork (a sort of modern hyroglyphics), the liner notes of the release almost seem too structured. Not only are the small drawings very orderly in their chaotic little way, but there are pictures of Gabriel in his apartment drawing, practicing (with a 6 hour schedule taped up behind him clearly defining things) his music, and reading (with an almost strategically-placed Bob Dylan album sitting beside him on the couch). There's even a rant about modern society that fills a page.

Having seen all that and then listened to the music, there's a line that sort of holds everything together. Stylistically, the tracks on the album are all impressively put together, and while they're not doing anything particularly new, they all have an inherent catchiness to them (especially with the vocal sample placements in the first track "Allakaheez"). Gabriel combines bits of live percussion, vocal samples, and some slick turntable work into 4 tracks (actually 5, but one is an interlude of he and friends talking about a VH1 record list) that comprise almost a half hour of funky music.

In comparison to some of his contemporaries like Kid Koala, Gabriel isn't nearly as flashy. Instead of going to town and wicky-wacking out samples and doing showy turntable tricks, he's more interested with sustaining a groove that will get stuck in your head. Tracks build up from little or nothing and sweep through different movements, encorporating all kinds of different sounds, and yet the album keeps a fairly even keel. Definitely some interesting work, but I'd be curious to hear things if he got even a bit more crazy.

Rating: 6.75