Creative City Project – Hands On Universe

Even the act’s name, Creative City Project, does reek of hooking your laptop up in a coffee bar, or buying a tuna wrap and moseying down to the skateboard park.

http://www.ccp-music.com

An interesting enough record, as interesting as annoying at times, but then I suppose that’s why I’m reviewing it. This release, from Amsterdam based Creative City Project  is a mixed bag, but full of things I really like, the opening mesh of scuzzy beats and desiccated, abstract soul on Within and Radio Joia or Karma, it sounds like a Mowax record from the late 90’s and that is good.

The annoying thing - for me at least - is that “these sorts” of records or acts always, but always seem to revisit the same musical territory, and use the same tools to aid them in their journey. The track Hands On Universe boasts the sort of concept that could have been bartered or remoulded between any amount of acts from time immemorial, from late 70’s Parliament through to Pharel Williams. This kind of soulful urban groove is often as safe as a classic meat & two veg guitar bands, the same chord structures, the same reliance of daft samples, the same soft ever so slightly jazzy soulboy vox. And boy, do the lyrics on Hands On Universe wind me up. Oh well…

When it works you can appreciate it’s a formidable weapon, and to be fair the last tracks Drop Da Base and Karma are very good examples of things clicking, the abstraction and off kilter vox a welcome dash of sand in that Vaseline. But this is all about living live in a certain manner, according to certain rules: it’s actually about compliance; this is the soundtrack to a perceived ideal for urban living. Even the act’s name, Creative City Project, does reek of hooking your laptop up in a coffee bar, or buying a tuna wrap and moseying down to the skateboard park. Not my pigeon guv, but of course hordes of people do choose to do this. It’s consensus, so I can see that sounding like Cabaret Voltaire isn’t going to get you anywhere in this milieu.

 But still, my post, post-industrial urban querulousness aside, it’s a diverting and accessible record. And I’d like to see the band push their ideas more.