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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2004
When the funky opening break quickly gave way to some Cinematic Orchestrachords, I thought that all the album would have to offer would be more ofthe same. However, listening further, I was pleased to discover that thiswasn't the case. While several of the tracks sound rather familiar,Skalpel have managed to introduce some interesting new textures andrhythms, and some tracks take the style in interesting new directions.
The band's instumentalists are all accomplished (the double bass playerwas a particular favourite, reminding me of Red Snapper's tightness) andblend well with jazzy elements, atmospheric samples and electronics. Mosttunes manage to explore a distinct mood, though all evoke rain-soakedmonochrome visuals.
The name Skalpel tells you much that you need to know: even when dippingits toe into funkier breaks and licks, the sound retains a cold, sharpedge. Clean, spacious production marries well with and their strongfilm-noir influence; this is beat-led music to watch the world in blackand white by.
In summary, they're along the lines of the Cinematic Orchestra, but dooffer some starkly cool new monochrome ideas.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2004
On the same label as The Cinematic Orchestra, Skalpel are, well, better! Comparisons may be spurious, but both artists share a sonic similarity: superb arrangements, exquisite samples and subtle atmospheres. Skalpel hail from Poland and the rich and hidden history of Polish Jazz clearly informs the sound. I would hate to refer to this as a down-tempo "chill-out" album as these phrases have become over-used to the point of being useless and may decribe a style of music that is markedly different from this. This is NOT aural wall-paper (not that I have a problem with good quality wall-paper mind), but has its own unique signature. If would want a break from the usual downtempo fare, you could do much worse than give this beautiful album of haunting, half-heard melodies and filmic textures a listen. Well done Ninja Tune..... Again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2005
Listening to this record is like getting covered in musical dust and spending the night in some wonderfully smokey Polish bier cellar.
This is stylish and effortlessly orchestrated and you would be forgiven for thinking that the boys behind it probably had a lot more in them, but were just 'too damn cool' to put the heat on anymore than they did. This is easily the most under-rated nu-jazz album of today and it stands modestly, but triumphantly next to its piers. The tracks are varied, but retain an organised consistency that permeates throughout the bands skill to remain tight yet innovative.
The standout track is 'Sculpture', which gently unravels into a tinkly stoned-out, sunny day. Perfect for summer mornings when the windows are open and the coffee pot is on. But also very special for those quiet, reflective smoked-out evenings when the special whiskey has been cracked open. I only hope I can hold out until these guys tour or make another album. I wait, I hope and I pray.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2006
Mad cut-up `jazz drumming' with lots of brass and random spoken samples. It's nice and happy without being idiotic. Lots of interesting sounds. It sounds a lot more `real', and less processed, than a lot of other `sampled' music. All the tracks hold together really well, although some are a little bit too similar to one another.
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on 8 March 2009
Ninja Tune have some fabulous artists on their label including this distinctive Polish jazz band, Skalpel. I bought this CD after seeing the video of "Sculpture" on the Zen TV DVD Zen TV DVD - Video Retrospective - Best Of Ninja [2003]. "Sculpture" is the stand out track but I must say I like every track on the album. They create brilliant electronic sounds perfectly married with great jazz instrumentation. The drumming is brilliant throughout. The track 'Asphodel' could be a soundtrack to an old Outer Limits episode. If you like your jazz to be creative, thoughtful, technically skilled and true to its roots then "Skalpel" is for you.
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on 4 October 2011
I discovered Skalpel whilst working in Poland, this album like their others lends itself to what I believe 21st century jazz is all about. Whether you are having a large glass of red at Ronnie Scotts, a brandy in Paris or sipping a cold one in New Orleans, this is jazz that will always make you want to say "coooool".

Buy it!
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