Tommy Guerrero - A Little Bit Of Somethin'
Mo Wax

If done properly, less is always more.  After a few 12" releases, Tommy
Guerrero's first full length LP, aptly named "A Little Bit of Somethin,"
is more than one would suspect from an ex-pro skateboarder.  In a world of
electronic music that is being swept over by "four on the floor" genres
like house and trance, Guerrero's delicately crafted down-tempo rhythms
are as refreshing as a cold glass of water after a heavy night out.
However, this definitely isn't an album to fall asleep to, as Guerrero's
subdued bass lines are funky enough to keep your foot tapping through most
of his offering.  Guerrero's realization that guitar and bass do not
necessarily need to overpower the listener makes this entirely
instrumental album complex without losing its groove along the way.

The brilliance and joy that flows from the assembling of these 15 tracks are not the product of heavy buildups or monotonous repetitions that force themselves into an artificially created groove like so many down-tempo or loop heavy works. These short tracks (the longest clocking in at 4:09) function like a well-crafted piece of poetry, where each word is carefully chosen.
Notes and samples are placed perfectly throughout most of the album. An example of this mastery comes during one of the album's high points. Guerrero only uses a lovely female vocal sample (most likely a 2 second lift from some opera) only 3 times in "100 Years." While most down-tempo trip-hop artists would use the vocal sample more often, or even build the entire track around it, Guerrero instead lets it serve as an accent to the lush acoustic guitars and Spanish influences that are interwoven through this track.
While certain tracks, ("Numb Milleneum," "Tiny," and "It's Raining Again) function more as transitions than stand alone gems, there are moments where it seems Guerrero is the missing member of Massive Attack. "Flux and Meter" is what Joe Satriani fished around for and never found on his last release. "Four Trk Samba" infuses a heavy Latin groove with trip-hop in a meshing not often heard in recent releases.
"A Little Bit of Somethin" isn't a seminal album such as Roni Size's "New Forms" that will change where electronic music is going. Trance will continue on for a while as all the rage at the clubs until it is replaced by the next bass pounding, booty stomping genre. But for those evenings when you aren't up for glow sticks and pacifiers, slip in "A Little Bit of Somethin." As Tommy Guerrero shows, a little groove can go a long way.
...brian mertz...

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