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Yesterdays New Quintet 

Stevie

Wednesday, Jul 21 2004
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Yesterdays New Quintet isn't comprised of five people. The act is all Madlib, the Los Angeles producer who seemingly never sleeps. How else to explain his über-prolific output? In the past year, he's released four albums -- collaborations with Jay Dee and MF Doom, a Blue Note remix record, and this instrumental tribute to Stevie Wonder -- as well as producing dozens of other artists. Actually, Stevie isn't exactly new; it's a remastered version of a 2002 promo-only CD, with one tune ("That Girl") added on. The covers feel a bit moldy, as if the tapes had just been discovered in a basement somewhere. Unlike the first YNQ album, 2001's Angles Without Edges, these tracks feel too snoozacked out. Sure, on a couple of occasions (a slinky "Too High," a bustling "You've Got It Bad Girl"), the novelty of Madlib drizzling Fender Rhodes over his giddy, looped beats comes through. But too often the songs miss Wonder's voice and sharp licks, meandering like a shopper lost in a mega-supermarket.

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Dan Strachota

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