2007 Artist Lineup

The Motet

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It can’t be easy being The Motet, the eight-year old Boulder, Colo., groove unit founded by drummer Dave Watts, where the M.O. appears to be not just making excellent, propulsive, rhythm-driven music that fans can’t resist moving to, but also keeping up with musical trends and incorporating new styles and moods. Somehow, the ensemble succeeds. At least it does on its latest effort, “Instrumental Dissent,” fresh off the presses and just now hitting stores. Yes, the new album is full of multi-layered jigsaw puzzles of beats and sounds, and yes, it infiltrates the mind to the point where you can’t sit still, but it also ventures into realms heretofore unexplored by The Motet (at least in the studio) while putting forth a relaxed, confident, chilled vibe that speaks of maturity and evolution. The difference is noticeable from the first moments of the disc. “Afro Dance Beat” opens with a gradual crescendo, but instead of erupting into an all-out percussion frenzy, it maintains a steady pulse that does indeed bear a resemblance to the Afro pop that has been sweeping the world. The groove continues for more than three minutes, when a decidedly urbane sax solo by the very fine Dominic Lalli marks a shift in the mood and electronic club beats are layered over the original foundation. “Anew” is downright ambient, as clean and cool as a sci-fi utopia, with long-time Motet keyboardist Adam Revell pinging out a catchy little ditty over a breezey guitar-bass-drums figure, and the resonant voice of Nigerian literary Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka sampled to add the stamp of 21st-century sophistication and consciousness. “Blowback” is similarly sedate, though there’s a roiling under- current that provides intensity, and “Old Orchard,” the closer, is, as the title suggest, a burnished stroll in an idyllic landscape. This is not to say Watts and friends have lost their fire. Not at all. In fact, the rest of the 11 tracks are as hopped up as ever. They include a ska-infused polemic (“Music is the Weapon,” intro- duced by a sampled quote from Harry Belafonte), a short Afro-percussion interlude (“Slice of Humanity”) and a spicy salsa number (“La Lucha”), as well as the usual furiously funky numbers Motet fans have come to expect.

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