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4th Floor California by 4th Floor California

This is one of those records that is classified by its unclassifiable nature. The Dinosaurus Records website throws out a few suggestions such as "jazztronica," "chillout" or even the inventive "elechillfusica." A less elegant, but more accurate description is jazz-infused downtempo electronica that would probably fit equally well in both the New Age and Ambient categories.

But we need not torture ourselves over the labels to enjoy the music. The whole record makes a beautiful accompaniment to anything you do for relaxation: a walk on the beach, a lazy afternoon in a hammock, a drive through the countryside in your convertible, a slow hour in a rocker on the front porch. It is pretty, sparse music that resists being in the background but yet never intrudes.

The whole record is a fusion of two talents, Dave Wright on guitars and HyPredica (yes, that’s her name) on keyboards. What makes their collaboration fascinating is that Dave Wright is a jazz and fusion guitarist with a growing list of recording credits who studied music at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, while HyPredica is a self-taught experimentalist. She says, "my skills grew out of listening and pushing buttons till stuff sounds good." Based on the chops that Wright demonstrates on this record, no one can argue that his musical credentials give him the right to endorse HyPredica by choosing her for this collaboration.

The record is solid except perhaps for the opening cut "Lorber 2000." It begins promisingly with a nice Fender Rhodes sound, but then falters with what sounds like a rhythm track and horn section patch from a cheap consumer-grade keyboard. But the very next tune "Blow By Blow" is smooth and dreamy. "Bling" is a more classic electronica piece with repetitive synth licks, but the surprise is some nice improv work by Wright on guitar. On "Monterey Bay," HyPredica lays down a Hearts-of-Space style harmonic synth bed while Wright dances gently on top. "Kellie" features Wright on solo guitar, evoking a kind of misty-eyed recollection of a lost love. The record finishes well with "The Expectant Father," a beautiful Rhodes + guitar duet.

If you like chill music and want to break out from standard New Age artists, 4th Floor California a great choice.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: 4th Floor California
  • CD Title: 4th Floor California
  • Genre: Ambient Jazz
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Dinosaurus Records
  • Tracks: Lorber 2000, Blow By Blow, Nearby, Memory Kiss, Bling, Night Music, Monterey Bay, Kellie, The Expectant Father
  • Musicians: Dave Wright (guitars, midi guitars, midi controllers), HyPredica (keyboards, midi controllers)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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