A Guy Called Gerald

If U.K. acid house and drum and bass pioneer Gerald Simpson (a.k.a. A Guy Called Gerald) was in top shape on 1995's Black Secret Technology, then To All Things What They Need finds him soft in the middle. At best, To All Things What They Need has the distinct sound of a former pioneer who's more than a little nostalgic -- the few Carl Craig-inspired, thumping techno throwbacks at the disc's end are its highlights. Elsewhere, Simpson favors a brooding, ultimately tired ambiance, suffocating his oft-broken beats with sustained keyboards thick as clouds. The silver lining is guest Ursula Rucker, whose spoken-word rhythms on "Millennium Sanhedrin" prove sharper than Simpson's programming as she verbally rails against the mediocrity he rarely avoids.

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Rich Juzwiak