3 AM (In Beats We Trust)


I have to admit, when British producer Richard Blair and Bloque’s Ivan Benavides first got together as Sidestepper and dropped More Grip back in 2G, I wasn’t impressed. I was more irritated than anything listening to their Latin/drum -n- bass concoction. But, it takes a lot to get me to like d-n-b, and I was a hell of a lot more hostile to the genre then than I am now. Fortunately for me, Sidestepper has now gone into a territory with which I’m more comfortable and enjoy a lot more: dub.

On 3 AM, Jamaica and Cuba are in perfect harmony in a much more exhilarating way than Bill Laswell’s Imaginary Cuba ever was. Blair and Benavides have crafted a real celebration. This disc is just a lot of fun.

They range from meditative Latin dub in songs like “Deja (Mary)” to real jump-up thrills with “Mas Papaya,” mixing soul, dub and dancehall in masterful fashion. The title track is fantastic slow-mo dancehall. “Donde Va Mi Corazón” is an amazing slow-crawl Latin jam with just the right touch of funk. “Walking” provides a nice bit of soul to their sound and “Aunque Me Duela La Vida” is an exquisite lounge cut reminiscent of Thievery Corporation’s “Exilio” with added flourishes.

3 AM is spilling over with life. Sidestepper have truly outdone themselves here, and this has got to be one of the most thrilling discs of the year.

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