There’s a reason no one raps over self-styled “weird hip-hop” producer Nick Cooke’s beats. The barbiturate pacing and blissed-out synths on this, the U.K. artist’s sophomore record, are simply too delicate, and propping rhymes atop music this gauzily gorgeous would be like putting buildings on clouds. That said, singing suits the tunes just fine, and on “Old Tape Machine” and “Peace”—featuring dreamy female vocals from King Midas Sound’s Kiki Hitomi and fellow Newcastle resident Bridie Jackson, respectively—Cooke gets sensual and exotic on what are essentially trip-hop James Bond themes. Elsewhere, he comes with an even lighter touch, like he’s hitting his sampler keys with a feather.


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