The former nucleus of seminal acid jazz merchants Marden Hill, Mark Daniels and Christopher Bemand reteam as 45 Dip with this debut album of groove-centric dance music. And groove is certainly the word of the day on Acid Lounge, as the duo lay down a dozen incredibly lush bass-led tracks of seemingly infinite low end. Daniels and Bemand find a cool nexus between the organic rhythms of their original unit and the thick urban gauze of 21st century electronic music. With the ethereal jazz scatting of Loop Guru's Liz Fletcher, "Lizzies Balloon" turns into smooth blue-afternoon soul, the lack of words enhancing rather than obscuring the futuristic spin of West London streets. This is not easy listening music by any stretch of the imagination and, as good as it sounds coming out of headphones, is not really bedroom music either. "Beer Star," besides boasting a great title, belches out one of the most fabulous deep-funk bass parts. Little else happens other than bassline repetition, but then little else needs to happen for the song to serve its purpose. Perhaps the best moments on the album are when 45 Dip dispenses with song and melody altogether and investigate rhythm and sound themselves. From the delightfully whimsical future ambience of "Searching for Marden Hill" to the exotic, amorphous nebula of "Parker Street Story" to the wonderfully trippy psychedelia of "Bug Juice," the duo thrives on turning out sound paintings, albeit ones you can move to. But when 45 Dip tries to achieve too organic a fusion, they have an unfortunate tendency to rub the techno-edges from their sound, and this is music that needs edges. The music is best swallowed on a song-by-song basis, but the best bits are truly awesome.
Stanton Swihart, Rovi