Saturday, April 9, 2016

RJD2 - Dame Fortune - (2016)

In yet another hard left turn, I was turned onto a release from RJD2 last week that based on the strength of the first single, Peace Of What, I just knew that I had to own it.  For a bunch of reasons, though it may not seem like it, it's rare this became a release day purchase.  If you recall the last time I felt this strongly about a release, it was David Bowie's final album, Blackstar.

Peace Of What (feat. Jordan Brown)

What got me with that first single is his departure from anything that I've heard from him before.  I alluded to it briefly in the single teaser post last week wherein this really sounded as if this album was going to be, at least emotionally, the deepest DJ album that anybody's heard in a while.  That's a distinction that's thrown around a lot on the DJ circuit.  You can gather all the Hudson Mohawke's, Dan The Automator's, Moby's, Wax Taylor, Ratatat's, and Gramatik's of the world,  all of their fans will say that they have at least one song that was so deep and meaningful that it really ties that particular album together.  Well, what if an entire album were full of rhythms and lyrics that just hit on different levels of replayability.  Not because they affect you, but because they're just good.  They're catchy.  They're different.

At some point, perhaps in the teaser post for the single a few weeks ago, I mentioned that many may not be aware of who RJD2 is.  Ramble John Krohn, RJD2, is the genius behind the theme to Mad Men*.  You've also heard his work if you've spent any measurable amount of time in Washington State over the past 10 years or so as his most well-known song, Ghostwriter from his first album, Deadringer, was used in various regionally significant things my favorite surprise being the music played before the introductions to the Seattle Mariners home games.  It's not from the new album, but you really should hear it.

Ghostwriter - Deadringer (2002)

Almost any review or write up of RJD2 will point out the hip-hop aspect of his work, some going so far as to call him a hip-hop artist.  That may very well be true, frankly, I've never asked him and if I ever do get the chance to, you best believe I will, to that end this album goes a long way, in my mind anyway, toward showing just how complex he is as an artist.  Sure, there are blatant hip-hop infused tracks on this album like this....

Up In The Clouds (feat. Blueprint)

...and you're not wrong.  One of my most favorite tracks on this album is just begging to be ripped, sampled and abused by some ass-hat so-called hip-hop artist who's looking for a single with a catchy hook.  (I cannot like, the 5th track on this album, A New Theory, is straight fire.) There's just so much more of a collaborative effort throughout this album this time, more so than his previous albums that it really feels as if his whole existence was working up to this album to show off just how much he's grown as an artist.  I mean, given everything I've posted above, can you honestly say that you expected to hear this?

Your Nostalgic Heart

I guess that's the hallmark of an artist that stays true to their art.  They're willing to experiment and change for the sake of growth and not necessarily for being popular, edgy, or even rich.  These will be the artists that can make an album every 3-6 years and remain ever popular in between as opposed to only hearing from them whenever they come up with a new single or decide that producing is really where they belong.

Having read a wide array of reviews of this album, I'm really glad that I took an unhealthy amount of time listening to this album over and over for weeks before I finished this post.  I think a lot of people really missed the mark on offering their opinions of Dame Fortune. The ones that didn't miss the mark were treated to one of the best menageries of sound that only comes around once in a great while.   After listening to this album so much recently, it made Telefon Tel Aviv's Immolate Yourself that much better.  Regardless, be sure to check out A New Theory and Sheboygan Left as well for some added depth to truly get the most out of listening to this awesome record.  Also thank you all for making my previous (teaser) post the most read post ever! 

Snag this vinyl be it ever so beautiful along with the mp3 download code from you favorite local record store.

My next post will feature either one of the following, Record Store Day, or an album that has been alluding me like a mother-fucker till very recently.  

*Oh, and well there's this by the way...

A Beautiful Mine (Theme From Mad Men)

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