After seventy minutes of uncommonly fluid electro-soothe, STS9 doesn't exactly alter the course of down-tempo music. But here's the good news: Atlanta's vibrational five-piece has forgone chasing the Grateful Phish ghost for more computerized pastures. With fresh ideas and a strictly enforced moratorium on dreaded solo noodling, the Tribe unveils its first studio effort since 1999's Interplanetary Escape Vehicle. Steeped in jazzy laptop-laden grooves and polyrhythmic percussion, Artifact blends acoustic guitar, baby grand, analog loops and a stash of mind-bending electronica into a predominantly instrumental effort -- excepting a few tasteful cameos from Bay Area MC Audio Angel ("Better Day," "Possibilities"). Standout cuts "Peoples," "Trinocular" and especially "Tokyo" all bear witness to what these nouveau hippies should have been doing from day one: turning improvisational table scraps into chill, futuristic elevator music.
Check out this week's featured ad for Entertainment