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Sykes I Witness

I Witness

Release Date: 11.27.00
Record label: iris light
Genre(s): Rock


He's Not a Lyrics Guy
by: matt cibula

Martin Stovey isn't afraid of the vibraphone. Or a whole wall of synths that sound like the synths that sound like strings on Pet Shop Boys records. Or of constructing a song out of six different haunting melodies that all kind of give way to each other and shift around. Or of constructing a chill-out mood where you're never really sure what's coming next. And that's just the first track!

Stovey is the beat-man behind weird London trio Elixir. He's also Professor Smalls when he's in d'n'b mode, and here he is as soundscapist under the name Sykes. This is really pretty great downtempo music, with each piece constructed as carefully as it needs to be and a great deal of attention paid to the mood that Stovey wants to evoke. Need a funky TV theme for 2027's best sitcom? Try "Flawless Secrets," which slinks right along electronically until its surprise souled-out electric piano solo. Need a mood piece that's equally close to Keith Jarrett and Si-Se? Well, "Espionage" is your man, there. I like the way that "Past Futures" is split into two parts, sandwiching the synth-tabla rai beat of "Dunes" and the stutter-strut of "Interactivity."

No, I don't know anything more about Stovey as a person now…he's not a lyrics guy. But there's a certain heft here, the sense that an intelligent person with real live brains and horses and everything is behind it all. How many other albums can say the same? Uh…not that many. 09-Aug-2002 8:32 AM