. . . is this good. Instrumental hip-hop is, I suppose, one possible label for this. And sure, there's some echoes of DJ Shadow here, perhaps a touch of Mr. Scruff, and weirdly enough, I hear hints - just hints mind you - of some of the solo stuff put out by Liam Howlett of, *sigh*, the Prodigy (specifically the Dirtchamber Sessions which admittedly is more of a mix album than anything else and which probably shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as an album like DeadRinger, but I still here some similarities. Sorry.)
But similarities aside, this isn't much like any of the aforementioned artists. It's one of the more unique things I've heard in a while. It's your typical collage of breakbeats and samples and odd melodies. And where RJD2 really shines is in the last element: melodies. Yes, his beats are, putting it mildly, awesome. But what stood out for me is just how tuneful and finely crafted his songs (yes, songs) are. This guy has an ear for melody, and creates tracks that bear this out.
And the songs are oddly rousing, anthemic even. Listening to 'The Horror,' I kept wanting to throw up my hands at my pointless 9-5 life, and go off and have some sort of adventure or something. If that makes sense. It's stirring music, is what I guess I'm trying to say.
The only downside to this album, in my personal opinion, are the non-instrumental tracks. Not to say that the MCing is weak - it's not - just that RJD2 is so good that I bemoan being distracted from his work by the lyrics. But that's a pretty minor quibble, and doesn't make this any less great of an album.
Have a listen and go have an adventure or something.