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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

The Happening

By Phil Freeman
Published June 22, 2007

As Deep As We Can Go Without Drowning
Spacious Music

The Happening is as much a description of this disc’s contents as a band name. Jamie Catto, one of the producers behind the One Giant Leap project, gathered a gang of artistic kindred spirits in a studio for three days in 2004. Every track heard on As Deep… was played once, and mixed straight to tape. For all its spacious, soundtrack-like beauty, not to mention its thematic consistency and total lack of missed notes or fumbles, this is live music played entirely for the love of music-making. There’s a healthy dub element to the goings-on, with turntables and live horns dancing atop thick bass lines and smoothly integrated sitar and doudouk. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the Gorillaz, albeit without the cartoon characters or pop-chart ambitions of that project. It’s literally all about the music—a bunch of players in a room, making something bigger than themselves.