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|1. Knight Moves|
|2. I Am Europe|
|4. Smothered Mate|
|5. The Grudge|
|6. Rococo Chanel|
|7. Never Stop|
|8. Pixel Paxel|
|9. You Can Dance|
|11. Final Fantasy|
|12. Siren Song|
|13. Never Stop (Chilly Gonzales Rap)|
Ivory Tower may not solve this conundrum. This is not to say it is bad – it is not – but instead of honing in on one corner of Gonzo’s craft, it branches out yet further. While a talented producer in his own right, here we find Chilly collaborating with Berlin dance producer Boys Noize, re-rendering the elaborate, minimalist-flavoured piano debuted on Solo Piano as louche, polished Euro-disco with one beady eye on the chill-out dollar. It is often much better than this sounds: take the likes of Knight Moves and Smothered Mate, which match Philip Glass-style melodies to simmering club rhythms with an smart charm that makes much modern downbeat sound cheap by comparison. You Can Dance, meanwhile, harks back to the soft-rock kitsch of Soft Power, all white funk, hand claps and big choruses sung with teeth agleam.
More awkwardly placed here are Gonzo’s vocal turns, semi-rapped rhyming couplets rammed with smart wordplay and epic self-aggrandisement. This worked a charm on the prankster hip hop of 2000’s The Entertainist, but sits slightly oddly on the pulsing techno-lite of I Am Europe. “I’m a dog s*** ashtray,” declares Gonzo, “I’m a shrugging moustache wearing a Speedo tuxedo.” Sure you are.
Still, The Grudge is proof he can still bring the funnies – a plea for beef conducted from the comfort of a piano stool: “See, what I need is enemies, please – a nemesis, or nemeses / They say revenge is just like sashimi – best served cold, so shiver when you see me.”--Louis Pattison
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