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Boomkat Product Review:
Drumming legend Steve Reid returns to Domino with an ensemble of Senegalese jazz musicians backing him, plus a certain Keiran Hebden, who Reid clearly hasn't been able to shake off since their Exchange Session LPs. Although the album was recorded in Africa (under the musical direction of keyboardist Boris Netsvetaev), Reid entrusted the record's production to the Four Tet man, and Hebden's influence on the album is respectful but very much audible. In general terms you get the impression that Hebden's trying to steer the record towards a rich, vintage sound, and you can certainly hear that effect on the sparkling, heated-up Rhodes keys of 'Jiggy Jiggy' or the tight kit sound on the title track. 'Daxaar' features a decent electronic presence from Hebden, who tweaks and twitters his way nicely through the tightly knit rhythm section. His abstract oscillations function as a strange but not unwelcome counterpart to the other soloists' harmonic digressions. Clearly this is Reid's show, and his drums are huge in the mix, spanning a huge spatial breadth and sounding as full and energetic as you'd hope for, but major props are due to the troupe of Senegalese players who back him up: Jimi Mbaye blurts out some killer licks alongside the soloing trumpet of Roger Ongoyo on the frantic repetitions of the closing track 'Don't Look Back'. Hebden maintains a sympathetic, dignified distance from heavy-handed intervention, creating his own looping percussive backdrop to 'Big G's Family' and more generally providing playful oscillations and all-round weirdness when things threaten to straighten out too much.