At the core of Soundspecies are brothers Henry and Olly Keen. When they began properly making music in 1999, the former was a DJ and vinyl collector, while the latter had played bass in a number of bands. It makes sense then that Soundspecies mix live instruments with a heavy electronic element.

The brothers now work with other siblings, Nat and Barney, and various friends to make a diverse, if familar, sound package blending hip-hop, soul and jazz. However, it's all done rather well. Purple Halo RMX gets the heady, relaxed vibe spot on with some deep burbling bass. CDR People and Beautiful Not Suitable are examples of progressive, jazz-tinged hip-hop, while Mask is jazz with hip-hop beats and airy spring brass. 80db Window artfully hitches a ride on the spoken word bandwagon. Throughout, the handling of vocalists (see particularly the soulful Relax) is top notch.

Soundspecies have made the sort of album that, by its very nature, has a certain air of worthiness (no surprise they've featured on Gilles Peterson's radio show), but thankfully there's only the occasional dull patch. Sit back, enjoy and feel like you've been hit head on by five beers and a couple of spliffs.



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