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Wax Tailor 

Hope & Sorrow (Decon)

With DJ Shadow gone hyphy, RJD2 gone pop, and Portishead in hibernation, trip-hop heads have been searching for something new. With the release of Wax Tailor's Hope & Sorrow, however, that search is over. The French DJ/producer has an affinity for trip-hop's touchstones: down-tempo grooves, cinematic soundscapes, and quirky retro-soundbites. But Tailor also puts a unique spin on the style -- like pairing an Everly Brothers sample with a crisp hip-hop beat on "The Tune." Or "Radio Broadcast," which proves Tailor is a skilled turntablist, scratching together random clips and creating conversations between them.

Compared to his last record, 2005's Tales of Forgotten Melodies, Hope is heavy on vocals and special guests. On the Sneaker Pimps-inspired "The Man With No Soul," Tailor weaves a backdrop that's both chilling and lighthearted -- the perfect contrast to Charlotte Savary's soothing voice. What's more, the song "Positively Inclined," featuring rad rappers ASM, showcases Tailor's talent for backing rappers too. In fact, it's his versatility that will ultimately have folks comparing Tailor to trip-hop's big names.

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