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CMJ New Music Report

Le Gooster-Zig Zag Zen cd

We've heard a fair amount from Le Gooster since he COMMON first surfaced on Shadow's excellent Five Star Like Water For Galaxy collection several months ago.
His tracks on Chocolate the two Five Star comps stood out like rays of morning sun (with a melancholic edge, to be sure).

Recent Reviews from that prolific French underground (of which you -BILL FRISELL may be tired of hearing), Le Gooster emerges like Ghost Town an avenging angel to shred any assumptions you may have about the homogeneity of that Parisian -DELTA 72 underground.

His debut record is as gloomy and 000 noir-ish as Portishead, with none of the commercial tinge of newly-minted "crossover" artists such as -DEATH CAB FOR Sneaker Pimps and Morcheeba.
Quite simply, this is CUTIE an expression of what Manthia Diawara, in the We Have The Facts Euro-African context, called "afro pessimism." "Mr. And We're Voting Stevens" is a low-slung, dragging, hard breakbeat Yes delight with none of the frivolous party spirit of much of what still gets called "trip hop." The -LTJ BUKEM rapper on "Real-izm" invokes Sun Ra and Mutabaruka, Journey Inwards among others, to the accompaniment of wavering, mirage-like raga sounds and a kick drum sounding -AIMEE MANN like it was recorded through a mattress.

On tracks Bachelor No. 2 such as the spooky, slow-moving, sinister "La Contagion Du Facisme," Le Gooster gets to the heart of the dangerous, xenophobic rhetoric of far-right
French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen, who maintains an uncomfortable level of popular support for his plan to rid the country of immigrants.
The beat here has a menacing edge, suggesting the violence in the streets which might arise were Le Pen's followers to act out their violent political impulses.

Over 19 expertly-produced tracks, Le Gooster establishes himself as a beatsmith extraordinaire.
Zig Zag Zen should establish him as a leading figure in the exploding post
hip-hop movement.

Tim Haslett.



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