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Metro Area

Metro Area (Environ)

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Metro Area transports listeners to an alternate universe, where the lush sounds of Salsoul and Prelude were never overpowered by the harder sounds of hip-hop and breakbeat. Instead, they pick up where Prince and Paul Simpson left off in the mid-'80s, crafting 21st-century disco with just enough modern flair to not be discounted as retro fare.

Debuting in 1999 with a quirky midtempo tech stomp titled "Atmos-phrique" (included on the album), Metro Area pioneered a new sound embraced by left-field DJs worldwide. Morgan Geist, who was already well known for his tech-laden dance tracks, used his partnership with newcomer Darshan Jesrani to up the ante on the funk quotient, exploring a mutual love for the sounds playing in New York City clubs during the late '80s and early '90s. Featuring live instruments and midtempo beats, the duo's four EPs succeeded in changing the sound of house music.

At album length, however, Metro Area's material suffers. Clocking in at a DJ-friendly six minutes, most of the tracks seem too long and monotonous for home listening. The four new tracks are as consistent as earlier material, yet seem geared for club use. For house aficionados, this album is essential, but for the casual listener, it may be a bit much.

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