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Pop/Rock - Released August 31, 1999 | Hard Hands - Columbia

Distinctions Sélection du Mercury Prize
Perhaps wishing to move from progressive-house flagwavers to trip-hop super-producers on a par with Massive Attack, Leftfield returned after almost five years of silence with a set of blunted trip-hop jams, stoned to say the least -- though glimmers of their house background do show through. Aside from a few uptempo stormers ("Double Flash," "Swords") reminiscent of a slightly less frenetic Jeff Mills, house fans looking for anthems worthy of "Not Forgotten" might be disappointed. The grooves on Rhythm and Stealth are a bit too languid and the productions a bit too intricate for dancefloor consumption. The one track that might make fans yearn for the heady days of 1993, "El Cid," begins with the ephemeral synth for which Leftfield has been known, but soon moves into breakbeat territory. Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa makes an appearance on the excellent "Afrika Shox," taking the mic on a brutal electro throwdown. As Rhythm and Stealth shows time and time again, it's definitely not 1993 anymore, and Leftfield has moved on with a grace and mastery of production seldom seen in the dance world. © John Bush /TiVo