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Jorge Velez - Roman Birds Music Album Reviews

Inspired by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, this five-track ambient wonder finds the New York producer letting pulses and motifs overlap until the tracks resemble the inside of a lava lamp.
Jorge Velez has long been prolific, but that’s been especially true in the past few years. Like many underground electronic musicians, the New York producer has taken advantage of the internet’s self-publishing opportunities—in particular, the direct-to-fans platform Bandcamp—to sidestep label gatekeepers, streaming services, and crowded retailers. (Velez’s Bandcamp page currently numbers 26 releases.) Velez first gained recognition a dozen years ago with blippy disco derivatives for labels like Italians Do It Better, but his output has gradually become more esoteric and inward-looking. He’s still capable of ebullient club tracks, as last year’s excellent Forza attests, but many of his long, undulating machine jams sound like late-night missives to himself.



2019 Cadillac XT4 Preview

2019 Cadillac XT4 Preview
The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the vehicle Cadillac needs, but is it too late?

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 compact crossover is the most important new vehicle from Cadillac in nearly a decade.

Destined to challenge the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, the XT4 has not only the requisite alphanumeric name, but also a spritely 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine that’s standard for the class. With 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the XT4 isn't as powerful as its German competitors, but the difference should be negligible—they’re all within spitting distance of each other.

The Cadillac promises 30 mpg on the highway, along with city and combined ratings of 25 and 27 mpg. A standard 9-speed automatic aids in the miserly consumption, while the engine features a cylinder-deactivation system and start-stop.

The exterior is related to Cadillac's recent products, although it's fair to say the company's design language works better on a small, high-riding vehicle like the XT4. The body measures 181.1 inches long on a 109.4-inch wheelbase, a smidge less than its German rivals, but a lot more than their sub-compact crossovers. The size attempts to blend a manageable footprint with adequate cabin space.

And that interior is certainly adequate. Cadillac claims to have more second-row leg room in the XT4 than any of its competitors with 39.5 inches for back seat passengers. The front seats seem comparable to the the XT4's competitors, although our biggest concern is cargo space: there's not a lot. With the rear seats up, the XT4 offers 22.5 cubic feet of cargo room. Fold the back seats down, and the XT4 has only 48.9 cubic feet of space, far less than the X3 or Q5, which both crest 60 cubic feet.

Cargo concerns aside, the XT4's feature set appears competitive. LED headlights and taillights are standard, as are 18-inch wheels (20s are optional). In the cabin, there's an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an innovative way of pairing a smartphone with the standard Bluetooth system using near-field communications, and a 15-watt wireless smartphone charger. Active safety systems are available but quarantined in the optional Driver Assist and Driver Awareness packages, which are only available on the mid-grade Premium Luxury and the range-topping Sport.

Those two trims will likely cost a good bit more than the XT4's $35,790 (including destination) starting price, although Cadillac isn't saying how much more at the moment. We expect to know more closer to fall, when the 2019 XT4 goes on sale.


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