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A Lounge-Friendly Blend of Beats and Bass

The brainchild of Niko Schabel, Radio Citizen mixes stuttering drum loops and fulsome, jazz-inspired bass.
The brainchild of Niko Schabel, Radio Citizen mixes stuttering drum loops and fulsome, jazz-inspired bass.

Most of the music on Radio Citizen's Berlin Serengeti, a lounge-friendly blend of beats and bass that would satisfy any Thievery Corporation fan, has a noirish cast to it. The brainchild of German musician Niko Schabel, Radio Citizen moves its songs forward with stuttering drum loops and fulsome, jazz-inspired bass.

Schabel's tracks benefit from sturdy construction, but the appearance of vocalist Bajka brings them to life. In a handful of cuts on Berlin Serengeti, her contributions range from spoken-word poetry to performances suggesting a modern-day Billie Holiday. The disc's slinky first track, "The Hop," finds Schabel and Bajka channeling hip-hop.

A simple but irresistible, pause-filled theme sits underneath Bajka's arresting (if barely intelligible) flow. The song, opening with an echoing announcement of its hook, feels like the beginning of a caper — and, appropriately, marks the point from which the rest of Berlin Serengeti cruises forth.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Christina Nunez