Vincent And Mr. Green - Self-Titled
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Vincent And Mr. Green
Self-Titled

Jade Vincent (vocals) and Keefus Ciancia (piano, keyboards, production) comprise the mysterious duo of Vincent & Mr. Green. Previously known as the Jade Vincent Experiment (on their album Moy), the duo has also done lots of work for films and Ciana has not only worked with everyone from Dr. Dre to Elvis Costello, but also has worked scoring such big-name films as Cold Mountain and The Ladykillers. If you include T Bone Burnett (mega-producer of the huge-selling Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, among others) as a friend, the two don't exactly have the deck stacked against them.

Ever-experimenting Mike Patton has made the duo at home on his Ipecac Records and the sonic stew they create is perfect on the label that has released everything from wacked-out vocal experiments (Fantomas) to deconstructed hip-hop (Dälek) and nearly flat-out gabber (Kid 606). Mixing old cabaret with a touch of country and some seriously dark trip-hop, this is late-night cinematic music that revolves around themes of love and hate and life and death. Back in the day (and maybe even during weaker spots currently), I'd probably simply describe it as "sex music."

After opening the release with a short prelude, the disc takes real hold with "Burn" as dirty horns mingle with saloon piano and a spluttering beat that all wobble under the vocals of Benji Hughes. Veering between stripped and almost archaic and huge and rumbling, the track is a good idea of what the group is about. "Like You" follows with another chopped-up hip-hop beat as a dark piano melody winds around in the background and Jade Vincent takes vocals again. Mixed with every breath intact, the vocals feel like they're being whispered into your ear while the track shudders and shakes around them.

Other standouts on the album include the hugely dynamic "Red Light" (which sways between horn-blasted bumping trip-hop and almost drunken ballroom swagger), "Will" (one of the best Portishead-esque tracks I've heard since that group disappeared), and "Once" (a muffled, hazy jazz club number that again makes perfect use of Jade Vincent's vocals). At 16 tracks and over an hours worth of music, the release runs just a smidge on the long side and feels a bit like its repeating itself in spots towards the end, but for the most part this is an outstanding and inventive release of both dirty and seductive music.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2004-10-14 00:00:00