Telepath Crush as reviewed in the Phantom TollboothEclectic with a capital E, Telepath’s sophisticated beats take you right around the world.

Label: Independent (  
Time: 15 tracks /74 Minutes

There’s so much variety on Crush that it can be hard to know where the artist’s true heart lies. This is the third release by American producer Michael Christie under the Telepath name and the most vocal-heavy one yet.

Christie provides his own keyboard, guitar, bass, flute, drums and percussion, while bringing in help from several continents. Most of the vocal and instrumental additions were emailed to him from contacts around the world, making this a truly-web-enabled project that, as he says, could not have been made twenty years ago.

An anthemic and portentous “Intro” leads into one of the album’s most danceable and memorable pieces. “Justify” features Elliott Martin and Monsoon and is dominated by dub and Jamaican brass. The title track shows the producer at his best. After a couple of minutes of simple, swaying sitar, he shifts up two gears as he adds some Beatles-styled psychedelia, its floating treated harmonies powered beautifully by his summery beats.

Kevin Meyame has been the lead singer and percussionist with The Afromotive and on “The Ancient Ones” Christie gives him uncluttered space, recognizing that of all the vocal samples, his rich Ivorian timbres stand out.

Full of contrasts, Crush sets the Indian chill-out moods of “Mirrors” and “Carry the One” (both featuring Maltrayee Patel’s vocal) against “Connection X,” an intense affair that is like a minor-key version of the Futurama theme, sprinkled with flute fills and with buried Afro-beat vocals. In between come tracks like “Down the Block,” which completely interweaves elements as disparate as sitar, surf, eastern violin, military beats and played-down urban vocals.

As often, the more the variety, the more the filler and tracks like “Freedom,” its hip-hop beats fleshed out with ska brass, is passable, but lacking either the compulsion or joy that it could have had. “In This Time,” featuring Becky Ribeiro, has smart twangy touches of synth and what sounds like treated sitar, but the song itself is one that you could have heard many times before. “Riho” seems to confuse African and Indian elements that work against - rather than supporting -each other.

Christie has done a good job of turning this wildly varied global taster session into something cohesive, helped by blender tracks like the short instrumental “Lacuna,” but this is still one to cherry-pick.

Download: Justify, Crush, Mirrors.

Derek Walker