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Eva Be

Moving Without Traveling

(Sonar Kollectiv; US: 18 Mar 2008; UK: 13 Aug 2007; Canada release date: 1 Apr 2008)

The mission statement for Berlin’s most beautiful producer Eva Bernhard is—like Rasmus Mobius and The Orb before her—to dissolve the borders between reggae and electronic music. Thus, her debut album for Jazzanova’s remarkably varied Sonar Kollectiv is chalk-full of waka-waka licks, Perry reverb, lazy subbase, and synthetic beats. The results are mixed, as you would expect. The soul of proper reggae exists in vibrant, live instrumentation and passionate lyrics, but Moving Without Traveling sounds thoroughly distilled through computers. It’s hard to tell samples from synthetics, and that does not work in its favor.


The odd track comes back from this over-digitalization, like the Pegah Ferydoni sung “She Walks Alone”. That one is based on an acoustic guitar and those guest vocals, with keyboards and studio effects bubbling up in a complimentary fashion. All too often, though, classic dub sounds are used as presets for seriously average downtempo and house tracks. Just bending the borders between genres is not enough to make a classic work by the fact of its existence alone. More flava, please!

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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