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.