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ARTHUR BAKER AND THE BACKBEAT DISCIPLES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Merge (A&M) 1989

Hip-hop's first star producer in the early '80s and a major figure in the introduction of record remixing to mainstream rock artists, Arthur Baker was just a face in the studio crowd by decade's end. So he made an album of his own. Collaborating with everyone from ABC and OMD to the Force M.D.'s, Baker (whose limited role here involves songwriting, percussion and occasional instrumental contributions) doesn't so much merge styles as stack them up. Essentially a sampler album, Merge offers slick techno soul, new jack swing, mushy adult rock, hip-house, suave pop and more, none of it particularly noteworthy.

[Ira Robbins]