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Pop Music Review

4Hero Conducts a Sonic Journey Via Turntable

May 21, 1999|ERNESTO LECHNER

Next time British duo 4Hero appears live in Los Angeles, its performance should be advertised in more detail. Something like, "A drum-and-bass gig. Turntables only."

Why the disclaimer? Because 4Hero made its mark last year with "Two Pages," a record that was closer to opera than to electronica. Using artificial beats and loops as a foundation for an extraordinary array of live instruments, singers and rappers, DJs Dego and Mark created an ambitious, multi-textured and majestic masterpiece that was unlike anything else in the world of dance music.

None of the album's jazzy pathos was present Wednesday at the Atlas, however, where the duo presented an adequately hypnotic set of turntable action marked by the usual aesthetic austerity of the drum-and-bass style.

Expecting 4Hero to bring a whole orchestra would be unrealistic, but at least they could have featured a singer, or even used recorded orchestral elements from the album as centerpiece elements for Wednesday's sonic journey.

Opening act Blk Sonshine worked at the opposite end of the spectrum, igniting the crowd with the tender sound of two guitars, two voices and some hand percussion. The L.A.-based trio's uplifting lyrics and relaxed stage presence made for music that was as spontaneous as it was sunny.

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