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Freeland Now & Them Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

Freeland's music is far from the sample-based breaks many of their counterparts use to...

Lewis Dene 2003

In the breaks world there are few artists in the traditional sense of the word, and even fewer capable of bringing the genre into the mainstream. Yet, without watering down his sound, Adam Freeland has risen through the ranks not unlike the Plump DJs to climb to the pinnacle in his particular marketplace.

Typified by "We Want Your Soul", a record that started in the underground, but was broken to the masses thanks to its sheer intensity and vocal subtext. An irresitible combination of computer-generated vocals anda sample from Bill Hicks denouncing corporate America mocking the drive of brand-led consumerism lead to play-listing at Radio 1. Soon the message was being spread far and wide.

Adam Freeland is at the group's epicentre. He massages the listeners aural taste buds with identifiable lyrics and orchestrates the diverse blend of musical styles -their music is far from the sample-based breaks many of their counterparts use to carve out a living. Freeland's music echoes a myriad of influences and emotions. From the socio-political of the aforementioned "We Want Your Soul" to the grungy Prodigy-esque angst on "Mind Killer". The song features equally provoking lyrics inspired by the line: "fear is the mind killer" from Frank Herbert's 'Dune'.

There are many reference points on this album: from earthy roots dub on "Nowism" and "Big Wednesday" through to electro and rap on the bumping and gritty "Heel N Toe". The latter features hip-hop fundamentalists Juice Aleem and Toastie of the New Flesh, while the song credits "punk, rock, reggae 'n' roll" as its inspiration.

Another highlight is the groups cover of Ben E. King's "Supernatural Thing" featuring Alison David's soul-etched vocals. A song that erupts from a seductive whisper into a full-blown guitar-wielding upbeat dancer in the space of a few bars. It's scheduled as a single release for November with new mixes promised by Tom Middleton amongst others.

Freeland's strength is his ability to deliver what his audience wants without diluting it for the mass market. There's enough passion to energise the airwaves but there's alsoa measure of restraint.

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