Jason Farrall and Kenny Clarke follow the Cuban excursions of Dukebox contemporary James Hardway with their own taste of the Americas. Although originally scheduled for release on the well-respected Clear label at the tail end of the '90s, the Lithium's debut was a casualty of war -- failing to make the shelves with the label folding shortly after the pair signed up. Having landed a deal with Doug Hart's South London imprint, the band saw the eventual release of this six-track mini-LP of ambitious drum'n'bass. The longevity of Passo Fundo is nothing if not testament to their quality, with the tumbling percussion and complex key work of the title enriched by the Good Looking atmospherics of "Earthly Egos" before the techno infusion of "Moments in Neon" spills into the meandering fusion of "Resurgan."
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The Lithium Project orchestrators, Jason Farrall and Kenny Clarke have drawn together an ensemble of musical creators to produce a remarkable debut album. 'Passo Fundo' is a fusion of all rhythm based genres under the electronica banner which is coloured by both the jazz tinged techno of Detroit and the nu jazz perpetuated by 'Good Looking' offshoot Cookin' Records presided over by LTJ Bukem and Blame. It is electronica with a difference because its origins are something much more organic and challenging. Tracks are smothered in waves of sumptuous strings and synth washes that engulf the listener, all underpinned by tight beats and the funkiest of baselines. It is a sound built upon an understanding of the fundamentals and nowhere is this more evident than on the final track 'resurgen' which plays like fusioneers 'Chick Corea and Return To Forever' at their most introspective. This mellow groover says a lot about the Lithium Project and their approach to their craft. Be under no illusions however, this album is packed with killer dancefloor cuts that will be championed by more than a few DJs this summer. This is just a taster of what's to come from a band who's debut will have a lot of people asking, 'Just Who Are The Lithium Project'.