Record Review - 3 September 16 2004

Best known for her experimental downtempo funk on Ninja Tune subsidiary Ntone, Neotropic (Riz Maslen) now finds herself on Mush Records. Her last album, La Prochaine Fois (2001), mined a rich seam of psychedelic atmospheres and organic tone poems, which she continues to explore on White Rabbits. Mush is notorious for releasing works that both arise from hip-hop's gene pool and muddy its contents, but White Rabbits hastens Maslen's departure from electronics and prominent beats into more real-time instrumentation and band interaction.

"New Cross" points to Neotropic's deeper move into mood rock designed for aesthetes burned out on high BPMs, with its ruminative, morose guitar and piano, spindly indie-rock drumming and distorted glockenspiel. Throughout much of White Rabbits, Maslen and her cohorts toggle between slow-core balladeering and sweeping, orchestral post-rock. The disc peaks on "Feelin' Remote," a sublimely eerie evocation of the Southwest's stark vistas via spiraling harmonica and fat, metronomic drums recalling Talk Talk-era Laughing Stock. Like most of White Rabbits, it's haunting and poignant. Neotropic imbues this desolate music with a paradoxical richness.

-- Dave Segal