featured REVIEW


SoulStice North By Northwest: Solid Ground Wandering Soul • 2005

Two years after it was first released, SoulStice’s debut album finds its way back to the shelves with this re-issue, extended with some unreleased songs. Ashley Llornes is one of those veterans who’ve been wandering through the Washington underground without gettin a universal shine. However, the second coming of 'North By Northwest: Solid Ground' might well be a turning point, not to stardom, but to worldwide recognition among underground fans.

A swift piano arrangement dominates the opener 'The Melody' and introduces us with the word play and imagery that characterize SoulStice’s style so well. Often expressing his passion for the music, thoughts on life ('Life is 90 percent more than 10 percent you perceive') and the strong will to succeed. 'My thoughts rock the senses, when I document this / I do what I gotta do, fuck the consequences', he rocks in the up-tempo, acoustic guitar-loaded 'It Don’t Stop', proving his confidence on the mic. The production is mostly handled by Oddisee, who contributes with what is to be called some of his most consistent work to date, revealing influences of Jay Dee in 'All I Got' and reminding of Insight in 'Sacred Ground'. Other productions are by Joe Braxton (on the solid 'It’s All Love'), DJ Imon (whose 'Terra Firma' reminds of a 9th Wonder production), Kevlar, Bee Oh Bee (on the up-tempo, string-fuelled 'Can’t Front') and Raistlin. German producer Shuko blesses the excellent, heroic-type-of closer 'Always' and sm.arson revives The Pharcyde’s 'Passin Me By' by using the same Quincy Jones sample on the melancholic 'Sleep Walk', in which SoulStice celebrates his everlasting need to translate life into lyrics; 'Right or wrong, live life, write a song about it / Right or wrong, writing songs, night to dawn, lifelong.

'North By Northwest' is a musical journey through a world of striking metaphors and lush beats. Sometimes uplifting, sometimes reminiscing, but most of all with a warm soul running through it, makin this album truly an enjoyment to listen to. Let the melody move you, this is original and hot!

POSTED ON 12|05|2005 by cpf

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