New and Notable Releases

Rating: NNN

What made Reprazent’s New Forms debut so devastating was the way Roni Size and his Bristol crew made a cold and static sound — drum ‘n’ bass — human by mixing programmed breaks with live bass and beats.

In The Mode is in many ways a return to basics for Size, and while there are occasional thrilling flashes back to that genre-busting sound, it’s a bit disappointing. Many of the beats on the instrumental tracks sound the same, so it’s the vocal cuts that stand out. A furious collaboration with Method Man brings out the best in the Wu-rapper’s snarl, with Size and Meth tailoring their parts for each other. A screechy rant with Zack De La Rocha is the exact opposite, while the best track on In The Mode might be Rahzel’s beatboxed reconstruction of Reprazent’s sound.

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