Manu Katche went to the Conservatoire but his musical origins are to be found in rock music. Even though the drummer extraordinaire has listened to a lot of jazz music, he hasn't played that much of it. The case gets even harder to crack when you listen to Katche's tenth album, The ScOpe, where he digs deep into the roots of groove music all the while incorporating the modern sounds of machines. The album cover designed by Arno Lam appropriately pictures Katche sideways - " an African profile " he says, and indeed Africa is the underlying musical theme of the whole album. But this sensual statue - with a face as if made of salt, bathed in neon light - is highly flammable if you consider that Manu Katche also knows about dancing - he practiced it as a kid, goes out dancing in clubs " and after all, you need all four limbs to play the drums " he himself remarks. The drums are then naturally at the center of The ScOpe, an electro album with both a carnal and a celestial touch - of an expert musician who has been solicited by Sting, Peter Gabriel and Veronique Sanson among others. " I have built the tracks around the drums, and it is no wonder I've always played thatinstrument - my dad's from the Ivory Coast. I wanted to see people move, dance and sing the gimmicks when they listened to it. " The album pieces together polaroids, thoughts, mantras - "my reactions to what bores, uplifts or shocks me". The outcome is a ceaseless effort to maintain the bond between minds, as advocated for instance by "Keep Connexion" and the lull of its kora - a solo specifically written for Kandia Kouyate - which eventually collides with the flame of a guitar. The ScOpe is thrilling for both body and soul, with a luminous and ethereal anthem to love, "Let Love Rule", sung by Jonatha Brooke, a weightless ballad, "Don't U Worry", (vocals by Kayla Galland) and the pulsating softness of "Glow". Meanwhile "Tricky 98"illustrates the ascent of champions - the track was played for the U-Arena entrance of the French football team last June, twenty years after their World Cup victory. With The ScOpe, Manu Katche scrutinizes his own emotions, anatomizes the alchemy of sounds with minute precision and relentlessly probes our beings, always reaching out for musical and spiritual harmony. Let's ScOpe it!