San Diego production duo Sound Providers specialize in the art of the loop -- sampling a jazz track's choicest four bars and then repeating the results ad infinitum. It sounds annoying, but many of hip-hop's sonic breakthroughs in the early Nineties -- such as Gang Starr's "Take It Personal" -- were built around this technique. Then again, that particular song used an alternate loop for the chorus, then broke up the tedium with a series of DJ Premier-certified scratches. Sound Providers have no fear of repetition; their beats blissfully distend the same loops over several minutes, adding breakdowns and miscellaneous effects, until they swell with reverberating bass lines and sharp drum patterns.
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Looping lies at the heart of An Evening With the Sound Providers, although there are plenty of other pleasant distractions on the disc, too. Asheru from Unspoken Heard drops some memorable verses on "For Old Time's Sake," as does Maspyke on "The Throwback," and Little Brother's Phonte sings the chorus from Billy Ocean's corny "Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car" on "Braggin' and Boasting." Fun stuff, but the disc lives and dies on the strength of the instrumentals, highlighted by the lovely piano melody on "Jazz at the Cove" and "Autumn's Evening Breeze." With nineteen songs, there's quite a bit to choose from. So much, in fact, that you might want to stop the CD before it gets too monotonous.