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Mr Fingers Cerebral Hemispheres Alleviated Records

On his first album-length outing as Mr. Fingers since 1994’s Back to Love, Larry Heard’s recent transformation from often-overlooked deep house pioneer to festival-headlining legend is complete. That’s not to say, however, that Cerebral Hemispheres is a classic by any stretch of the imagination.

When Heard’s attention is focused on the dancefloor, Cerebral Hemispheres approaches the triumphant. While nothing on the LP can stand up to the earth-shatteringly humane brilliance of early releases Mystery of Love and You’re Someone Special, or even more recent releases like The Sun Can’t Compare and Deja Vu, the album’s opener Full Moon is as elegiacally smooth as anything Heard’s ever released. Few producers are able to wring out such with so little; there’s a reason they call these deep house. The Drexciyan ooze of Electron shimmers like a vision of a future foretold, and the title track hints at the kind of rough-hewn minimalism that Robert Hood made his own in the mid-90s.

The problem is, there’s too much meandering, jazzy, washed out and watered-down filler; a few too many bland approximations of sun-kissed Sade backing tracks. Still, Heard is getting the recognition he so richly deserves, with another generation of clubbers likely to have their head rearranged by Washing Machine all summer long – and if that’s the price we have to pay for an album that can’t decide if it wants to be a state of the house nation address or a Sunday morning snoozer, then so be it.