The MVO trio has a shift change and employs the unprecedented talents of Tony Allen.

It’s been a real pleasure hearing the evolution of the MVO trio. Since their debut release in 2009 they have crafted a unique blend of rhythmic structures and dub-influenced fx, following on the lineage from Rhythm & Sound, Basic Channel and incorporating the freeform thinking and textures of jazz.

For their fourth album, Vladislav Delay is relieved of percussive duty and the master drummer and afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen is brought into the fold. A living legend and force to be reckoned with on the tubs, Allen’s inclusion makes perfect sense when you take into account his work with Wareika Hill Sounds and extensive work with the Honest Jons label, and of course, his lengthy and near flawless discography spanning some 50-odd years – quite simply, a vital addition to this all-star cast.

The album is split across two plates, housed in a stunning gatefold sleeve – 8 tracks make up ‘Sounding Lines’, and, while they are titled (1-8) that is merely a formality as each movement bleeds into the next, creating a deeply immersive listening experience. The start of the album focuses on percussion with a subtle flavouring from Moritz and Loderbauer. Track 4 plunges us into an ocean of dub, delay tails and palpable percussion stretching to near infinity, a real highlight and a reminder of the foundations of this project.

As you move on to disc 2 the interplay between drums and keys enters a zone that far surpasses the already high levels achieved on their previous albums. Allen’s relaxed percussion engages a dialogue with the freeform melodies from Loderbauer and shapeshifting FX and electronics from the architect Von Oswald.

To round up this stellar package, ‘Sounding Lines’ was mixed by Max Loderbauer’s studio pal and micro house maestro Ricardo Villalobos, a match made in heaven.

Those that have been following the MVO trio’s output since its inception are in for a real treat here. It’s their best and most complete work to date, a real, real pleasure and a highlight of the year for us.

Those that have yet to experience it – we envy you.

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