Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"Discovering" What Isn't New

Sometimes you "discover" music that's not very recent and you wonder just how you missed it. I remember how much I enjoyed The Avalanches debut album Since I Left You when I decided to buy it after hearing one song. I had vaguely heard of their album in an article where ?uestlove of The Roots called it his favorite album of that year. Now, Since I Left You is one of my favorite albums ever. I'm very glad that I found out about that album even though I didn't buy it until about a year after it originally came out. Now I have another example of a late discovery...RJD2.

It should have been clear as day that I would really enjoy RJD2's debut album Deadringer, which I picked up the other day from Borders before I went to work. I remember hearing about him when he first came out back in 2002 and how he was compared to DJ Shadow. I really like DJ Shadow's music. I think Endtroducing..., his debut, is a classic. Psyence Fiction, the album he did with James Lavelle as UNKLE, is also among my favorites. I even liked The Private Press.

In the past few weeks, I've been interested in RJD2's music after hearing "Smoke and Mirrors" (from Deadringer) and "1976" (from Since We Last Spoke, which I haven't bought yet). So when I decided that I would buy a CD from my very first paycheck from my new job, I bought Deadringer. I am really really glad I did.

There are elements of DJ Shadow's style of music in RJD2's style. They both rely on samples to create avant-garde, mostly instrumental hip-hop music. Vocal samples are just as important as the music samples used. However, RJD2 manages to distinguish himself from DJ Shadow with the variety and creativity of the music on Deadringer. "The Horror" is a great way to start the album. Horror movie-style music is turned on its head and into a bonafide jam. "Smoke and Mirrors" is up there with DJ Shadow's "What Does Your Soul Look Like?" in terms of the emotional impact that a song of its type can have. The triumphant horns of "Good Times Roll Pt. 2" make you feel quite happy. "Ghostwriter" is a breezy, laidback song that sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a summer drive. "Chicken Bone Circuit" is a drumlover's paradise. I have to admit that I didn't like the songs with rappers on them as I did the ones without...but they were still good.

RJD2's Deadringer now has a place as one of my favorite albums. It joins a list that contains albums as diverse as Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, OK Computer by Radiohead, and Music Has The Right To Children by Boards Of Canada. (NOTE: One day in the future I will list all of my favorite albums...and the list will be very very long) Now I have to decide if I should hurry up and get Since We Last Spoke when I get paid again...or possibly "discover" another album I should've had in my collection all along.

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