The Loading Program
(Fast Horse, 2003)

Tuatara is a supergroup of sorts, including Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of REM, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and executive producer Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees. The Loading Project is a remix project of many DJs, so it might be called a side project of a side project.

This is not a bad CD, but it may be one that is unnecessary. The best of today's remixes can bring life to classic music and introduce it to new audiences. Tuatara is a good jazz group, but since there are only three previous Tuatara releases, it may be a bit early for reinterpretations.

There are eight remixes and four new tunes on this CD. The latter have sparse melodies with repetitive bass and drums. The best of the remixes, though, have a distinctive flavor.

"The Melting Sun," remixed by DJ Wally, uses hand drums to give varied beats. An effects-modified guitar at the front of the mix, and added vibes and bells, give the piece a mysterious air. Vibes and muted horn-like electronics also add a brooding air to Mr. Reliable's mix of "Dark State of Mind." "Action Thriller," remixed by DJ Spooky, maintains a tension that keeps the James Bond flavor. Spooky lays on surf guitar and electronic effects to give a feeling of the decade of the '60s.

Listeners who like dance beats may like this CD, but jazz listeners would be better served by Tuatara's other releases.

- Rambles
written by Dave Howell
published 21 February 2004

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