Q-Burns Abstract Message
On his last album Feng Shui, Q-Burns Abstract Message (aka M. Donaldson) put together a batch of light summer tracks that was pretty darn fun, if not very groundbreaking. On this follow-up, most of the edge that kept tracks from falling over into radioland is lost, and what's left is a long album full of light dancefloor fluff with vocals. The strange part about this is that on the last disc, several of the vocal tracks were the more inventive tracks on the album, while on this release they seem to be built around the same light house beats.
Starting out with "Hey! Star City," the release actually gets going on the right foot. The two and a half minute track mixes some acoustic guitar in with a funky beat and some nonsensical female vocals. The problem comes when the second track pulls many of the same elements (including a beat that is surprisingly similar) and lays everything down behind pretty vocals by Lisa Shaw. Those warm beats, thick house-like beats continue to pop up on several other tracks as well (at almost the same exact tempo) like "Drifting Off," "Innocent," and "Amusement Park Heart."
Fortunately, not all tracks follow that same formula, and the fact that Q-Burns works with so many different people on the release actually plays to the listeners favor. Lisa Shaw gets much nicer accompaniment on the slow and sexy "Differently," while rapper Swamburger adds a completely different lyrical style and shakes things up on "Imprisoned Glitch." Another nice addition to the disc (that could have easily been used to more effect) is the live percussion sounds of Eugene Snowden on several tracks. He adds a touch of an organic vibe to the aforementioned "Differently," as well as performing nearly all of the instrumental centerpiece "Asa Nisi Masi."
In the end, you'll probably like this disc if you liked Feng Shui, although it isn't quite as dynamic musically as that release was. Not only that, but vocalists are used about 70% on the new release, when it was probably only about 30% of the last disc. At some points it works, and it the album retains that summer-groove feel that Q-Burns is known for, but at other times tracks simply feel like any generic dance track you'd expect to hear playing in a club setting while watching television (which some people actually don't mind). Perhaps he'll pull all the elements together for the next release.