- I haven't been to Vancouver, and perhaps I never will. After all, the reality of the city couldn't possibly live up to its depiction on the Pender Street Steppers' Life In The Zone. Released last year on the Mood Hut label—the Steppers are yet another product of that exceptionally talented crew—these 90 minutes of gurgling "dooh"s and "aah"s, pillow-light toms and breezy chords could serve as the soundtrack to the most blissfully uneventful summer stroll you've never had.
Given the group's fluffy, out-of-time sound, it's no surprise that DC's PPU label have lined up a single. But Bubble World, released on home turf, is an equally excellent and stylistically broader introduction to the Steppers universe. The title track has the blissy contentment on lock, its snare hits and squished hi-hats playing a teasing back-and-forth over a coasting groove. "Temple Walk" is cut from similar cloth—its kick and snare patterns are virtually identical. But its darker hue, thanks to some moody crystalline pad sounds, lends those rhythms a new loping urgency. "Love Theme (Angelo)" is the downtempo outlier. The added space between beats seems to give the thing extra pungency—the thick chord swells and late entry digi-sax are quite intoxicating. In all cases, the group perhaps get a little too comfortable with their material—each track dawdles for a minute or two longer than is necessary. Then again, when the sun's out and everybody's smiling, what's the rush?
A Bubble World
B1 Love Theme
B2 Temple Walk