The new Lewis Parker album will drop heavy early 2010 and as the mystery of the Man with the Golden Sound deepens, it may be too soon to put together the jigsaw pieces of his master plan. The latest instalment offers silky smooth hip hop with the creativity of a seasoned veteran. Here we have top notch beats complemented with a vibrant new plot line, laid out in refreshing lyrics from LP himself, alongside Dynas, Tah Born and Steele out of Smiff'n'Wessun.

The starting tracks, 'The Big Game' and 'International Takeover' provide new re-workings of material from a recent EP with refreshing productions and a suped up studio sound. This album marks Lewis Parker's move from London to New York and really binds together his work ethic and attitude to the new environment and opportunities. The results emanate brilliantly from the speakers, lazy yet precise drum loops sink into the deep bass lines and the leading mid-range samples emerge with a clarity and distinction that is reminiscent of, although exceeds, his earlier achievements. This album demonstrates an adept control of the studio process to allow "the deadliest man with three SP's" to build symphonies of sound, and at the same time prove that the World of Dusty Vinyl can put out a classic long player on either side of the atlantic.

'Man Up' follows on the heels of a sizzling intro to the album, with a bass hook with echoes of 2004's 'Give it Here', it contains a complete musical movement in a single track, the epic mood is laid down as a foundation which is steadily built upon throughout the album.

Following on we hear 'Heavy Action', a superb example of how the narratives across the album well suit the beats, verses range from the Wu-style crime capers to the Everyman advice and wisdom that seems to flow naturally from Mr Parker's pen. The English vocab and way of thinking is a big part of LP's background and that remains a key part of the appeal. His sound is a product of ideals that take root anywhere in any hip hop community, using that blend of funk, soul and rare groove to contribute toward a full and balanced sound-scape.

As a rapper he is ever aware of his unique situation, and it shows in lines like: "We're playing to win the game, no regrets, no fears, no tears, no shame...Situations changed, new arrangements arranged, deals with new cats with some new names... Took some time off of course/ to lounge with two broads/ looking like Pam Grier and Lara Croft"

The final three tracks are big hitters, finishing on 'A Deadly Game' with its reverberating bass and brass driven leads, it cuts to the chase by laying down the rules of the games as he sees it, starting with an extended and meditative gong from 'Jungle Boogy' and an intricate set of musical solos throughout the final verse, his sense of structure and pacing pushes the album to an intriguing end, the listener left with questions, and that is how he wants to leave it, as this is part one of a set of albums yet to drop.

While the album has plenty of variation it certainly marks the turning of a corner, adding a few more crowns to a previously pure and Golden sound. Lewis Parker has always prided himself on the quality of his sound, and anyone who's checked the 'Sniper Beats' album will recognise the progression in production that has been a continued transition up to his current release. However it isn't a simple line with ups and downs, his body of work is as diverse as the years he has been in the music game. So with two renowned albums under his belt, his third solo LP project had high expectations that are more than surpassed here, the bar has been raised and The Puzzle is the new peak upon which it rests. Reviewed by J Bodes

Lewis Parker - The Puzzle Episode One available on itunes here

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