Leftfield
Rhythm And Stealth


4.0
excellent

Review

by ocelot-05 USER (20 Reviews)
September 26th, 2005 | 11 replies | 3,851 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


I have listened to 1995's Leftism. It is powerful, it is moving, but it is still pretty cheesy and annoying times. Some of the special tracks were Release The Pressure and the ambient Melt. I could not really listen to many of the other songs. But in Rhythm And Stealth, Leftfield shows just how dynamic they can be. They have an uncanny ability to mix break beats, house beats, and ambient overtones, with some nice sprinkles of hip-hop. In Rhythm and Stealth, not all the tracks are superb, but most of them are excellent. As you know, electronica is harder to physically describe than rock, so I won't go into too much detail. This is a new format for me so bear with me.

After a 20 second introduction, Rhythm And Stealth opens with possibly the most awesome break-beat ever to be conceived of. The bass pounds, yet it is not just hard; it is moody too. Dusted consists mainly of hip-hop, but of course not the American style so many people are familiar with. This is easily one of the best tracks on the album. Next is track 2, Phat Planet. This is also a relentlessly slick song, but it does not capture the darkness of Dusted (not that it's intended to). The main bass-line is very catchy, and I remember it being played on a few commercials and previews. Throughout the song, you can often hear an ominous sweeping sound, like that of a pendulum. This song is not beautiful, but it extremely fun to listen to.

In Chant Of A Poor Man, Leftfield shows a dynamic contrast. Track three is very soft and introspective. It has strong reggae influences, with strange but unbelievably cool vocals. This song definitely makes me think of Camden, where I used to live. For those of you who don't know, Camden is a part of London infamous and teeming with different cultures, trance music, and clubs. Chant Of A Poor Man is not quite just a chillout-track, but it is not a house one either. It is more a very mellow and atmospheric conventional song. This is one of the better songs on the album, but not one of the best. To put a damper of the fantastic Chant Of A Poor Man, Leftfield serves up one of the most dull and lifeless dance tracks ever created: Double Flash. I believe it was made on the Playstation game Music, or Music 2000. This does not make out for the mundane content of the song, though. In fact, I remember making some great music on those games. Obviously this song is easily accessible for club DJís, but as a part of the album, it just drags the rest down.

Alas, you will be rewarded after sitting through the dreaded Double Flash. Next is El Cid, one of the most hypnotic and mesmerizing songs Iíve ever heard, alongside Exchange by Massive Attack. The music seems to imitate deep-sea life, complete in its luminescence and brilliance. A couple minutes into the song, an electric guitar (I think) joins the slow waves. El Cid is one of the three best songs on the album. For the last minute, El Cid has one of the most ecstatic musical releases Iíve ever heard.

More break beats here we come; Afrika Shox is next. Afrika Shox is not quite as awesome as Dusted, but it comes in close. There is a slow build up with distorted vocals. The song is very intense and uncompromising. This is one of those songs you listen to with full volume. It's easy to dance to, but it is also a great listen.

With Dub Gussett, Rhythm And Stealth begins its decline. Not in quality, but in intensity. Dub Gussett is a solid and constantly-moving dance track, but it doesn't trigger the emotional responses of Dusted or Afrika Shox. Oh well, it's better than Double Flash.

Okay, doing justice to the next song, Swords, will be difficult. Difficult because it is one of my favorite songs of all time, no jokes. Swords has a female vocalist, which is a nice treat after all the men singing in the album. Her voice is incredibly gentle and soothing. Again, underwater-like sounds can be heard. The main lyric is "I had become pure water. I'm with my sword in my side." I think its safe to say that this is the best track on the album, closely followed by Dusted and El Cid. Don't take my praise for this song as fanboy-raving. I genuinely think that it is musically divine. After Swords, the album does decline in quality, but only in relativity to Swords. Take a guess at what time-signature 6/8 War has. You got it. 6/8 is similar to Dub Gussett in that it is another solid dance track, without that much progression or development.

Finally, we come to Rino's Prayer, the closer to Rhythm And Stealth. It has some beautiful chanting, coupled with that trademark wave sound of Leffield. The power of the song gradually builds up, and then works its way down about a minute from the end. Rino's Prayer is not a stand-out song, but it is a very decent end to the album

In general, Rhythm And Stealth is the kind of cd that you can play at parties. However, this is what is expected of a dance album. What's so great about this cd is that you can also relax and reflect, appreciating the music for its true worth. That is why I give it a 4/5.



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Leftism

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
November 20th 2005


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was going to do a review on this, but you did a good job.

I enjoy this album, but I don't think it's a 4/5. There are a few really good tracks, but this album seems dull, especially towards the end.

Charlie989
April 9th 2009


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

While i mostly agree with your review, i do rate this album higher. Partly because for me it came out when i was quite young and just discovering electronic music and marijuana; used to get so stoned and listen to this, but skip Double Flash (haha) but no, it's stood the test of time and to me is an absolute classic. I must agree with you about Leftism though, a few good tracks but too cheesy. Rhythm and Stealth stands miles apart - while Double Flash ain't all that, the rest of this album is top-notch. El Cid is probably my favourite although there are so many classics. Dusted is a brilliant opener, Phat Planet just makes one think of surfing massive waves with white horses in them and drinking guiness. Chant of a Poor Man is just incredible. Afrika Shox and Dub Gusset are nice then Swords comes along. I'm sure it doesn't say "I'm with my sword in my side." though

"Danger round every corner, I have become pure water, I can identify, I close my eyes, I wear my sword at my side."

Classic track, beautiful

Though 6/8 War isn't that bad a track - it's got a helluva stomping groove going on. I perhaps wouldn't have put it at the end of the album. But then...

Rino's Prayer - An amazing end to an amazing album. The tasty chant eases you into this (as the title would suggest) prayerful piece of hypnotic audio, which then jumps on a train and trances you right out, nicely... Always sounds like a train to me, either way fantastic use of filtered reverb.

To me this is a classic album i will listen to again and again. I'd love to get it on vinyl, it is my birthday today after all, hmm.

All the best
Charlie =)This Message Edited On 04.09.09

SanguineCream
November 16th 2012


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. Few pretty weak tracks drag it down I agree. Isn't Leftism, sure, but it gets better after a few listens. And why is there only three comments for this ?

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2012


23816 Comments


because most of sptunik doesn't know/care about pre-2000 electronic music.

SanguineCream
November 16th 2012


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Swords' is awesome.

SanguineCream
November 16th 2012


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Guess you're right. Kind of sad. i've noticed there's tones of metalheads on site though

SanguineCream
November 16th 2012


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Guess you're right. Kind of sad. i've noticed there's herds of metalheads on this site though

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2012


23816 Comments


yeah, and indie kids (like me)

I haven't heard this album, and only recently discovered Leftism (no thanks to this site)

SanguineCream
November 17th 2012


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely a stand-out here. This is much darker, and less '90's camp' then their debut. Not that
that's a bad thing, mind you. I hope these guys get back together one day and record something new.
Perhaps something fresh and stimulating like Leftism was in it's day. guess we shouldn't hold our
breath though

Eloriaz
August 10th 2013


694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bump!
I should listen to this more. I love how they managed to craft another unique and compelling album after the titan that Leftism was.

Digging: Simian Mobile Disco - Whorl

SanguineCream
September 22nd 2013


598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDQwQg9V2S0

^^^TUNE.

They seriously should have included that cut on this album. Replace the forgettable filler that is "Double-Flash"



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