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The Strange Dreams Of Paul White
The Strange Dreams of Paul White Cay McDermott , July 1st, 2009 11:35

Paul White is undeniably a talented young chap. By day a library music producer with credits from Channel 4 and BBC to his name, and by night one of the brightest stars of the instrumental hip hop firmament, it was perhaps somehow inevitable that this, his debut, would present the listener with a delicious amalgamation of his dual professions.

The Strange Dreams of Paul White doesn't sound like an album so much as an extended adventure in Hauntology. White is not ashamed to wear his influences on his sleeve, meaning that you often find yourself listening to a brief snippet of sound which conjures up images of everything from Radio One DJs of the 1980s to Rick Wakeman in a Wizard's hat. Indeed, in its all too brief 45 minute running time, White manages shove in more ideas than most musicians have in their entire lifetimes.

Each track on the album is relatively short — the longest clocks in at just over three minutes — so it often feels as though White is some kind of hip-hop mad inventor, trying out new sounds and influences before setting them to one side and experimenting with something else. In the wrong hands, this scattergun approach could have been fatal. But, perhaps because this is the lovechild of an obsessive collector, here it actually manages to provide the album with its greatest appeal. Instead of sounding as though it's all been thrown together, the tracks tease and tantalize, making you want to press the rewind button and listen to them again in an attempt to explore the hidden meaning contained within each little snippet.

This is a mix album which is inventive, mesmerizing, and above all, really bloody clever. How else can you explain why it appears to possess a strange magic which means that it's incapable of being taken off a turntable once experienced? Filled with a deliciously deft aural trickery, you get the impression that only someone truly in love with music could have created it — and that in doing so, Paul White has managed to come up one of the best and most creative albums of 2009.