Here’s a nerd fantasy for you: Tortoise covering Boards of Canada’s “Roygbiv” with Quincy Jones producing. Yeah, it’s totally unrealistic, perhaps even a slight bit musically incongruous, but I don’t give a fuck. I think that would be sick. It is just a dream after all. Now, I couldn’t in good conscience say that Minneapolis duo Keston and Westdal are in that orbit just yet, but their newest record One Day to Save All Life hints at something potentially explosive while taking their sound in a much more fulfilling direction for yours truly. While the old stuff was more jazz-informed and akin to Kyoto Jazz Massive and other live nu-jazz acts of the same nature, this newest record (scheduled for a March 11th release on Unearthed Music) has a much more mid to late-90s feel, less reminiscent of labels like Compost, Freerange, or Nuphonic and more like Warp or !K7 though.

Make no mistakes about it, it’s solidly downtempo in nature — instrumental, atmospheric, moody, cinematic — but the live instrumentation allows the music to take on an improvisational, compositional nature that separates it from a lot of similarly pretty, but ultimately tiresome loop-based stuff. Most importantly however, is the duo’s approach to the production of these tunes. Whereas less savvy musicians might stumble over a cliched palette of overwrought jazz breaks and stock synthesizer sounds, these dudes definitely listen to some good music. And it shows on what is clearly their best record to date.

RIYL : Kruder & Dorfmeister, Boards of Canada, Herbie Hancock, early Nightmares on Wax, Marumari, Fug