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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
03 December 2003
Active Ingredient, Be Smart Don't Think (A. D.)
Active Ingredient members Baby Funkmore (guitar and bass), DJ Rhythmatyx (turntable scratching), Dr. Nemo (mix and mastering), and Swift (Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer piano, b3, clavinet, and synths) are all none other than Jason Vertz (voices and drum programming), the mastermind behind Be Smart Don't Think, a fusion of funk, hip hop, jazz, reggae, and rock that really only seems interested in maintaining the steady groove playing in his head. Although most of the tracks hover around three-plus minutes, the music feels like Reader's Digest versions of one-man jam band excursions. On top of that, the set is largely one for the lonely and detached, in that none of the lyrics tap into anything remotely personal. The most intimate moment is the reggae-tinged cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", which is the only track that feels like more than Vertz just trying to get himself off. Next time, be smart don't do it alone.
.: posted by Editor 7:57 AM