Rjd2: Since We Last Spoke

The major labels are crumbling. The deficit soars. Your neighbor came home with SARS. Teenage youth are more armed than Ted Nugent. There will never, ever, be a new episode of “Friends”. Clay out-sold Reuben. Odds are you are about to enter another 4 years of Bush-brand terror. Not to worry, though. Rjd2 has a new album.

On his breakout solo debut, Dead Ringer, Rjd2 sent listeners on a musical foray into instrumentalism, feasting on styles both old and new, and in the process creating a sound that’s emerging as one of the most interesting and exciting new voices in instrumental music. In a genre filled with ambient spacemen and droning techno fromage, Rjd2 brought a sense of song structure and vitality that was sorely missing, evening harkening back to when instrumental groups like Booker T. and the MG’s got radio play (not a joke). And the accolades rolled in. From industry luminaries like Chris Blackwell, to members of Radiohead and The Strokes, to ?uestlove of The Roots (who nominated Dead Ringer for the prestigious Short List awards in 2003), to Dj Shadow, Rj soon became a favorite of those in-the-know. Dead Ringer was an incredible success globally, appearing on many a year-end list, including Spin’s Top 40 Albums of 2002. In ’03, he followed up the success of his debut with The Horror, an EP of B-sides that played closer to an entirely new album than a collection of leftovers, and cemented Rjd2 as one of music’s most talked about new artists. Touring from Japan to Amsterdam, Rj caught wreck with a dizzying 4-turntable reconstruction of the album for fans worldwide, sharing the stage with the likes of DJ Shadow, El-P and the Def Jux crew, David Lynch, The Roots and Prefuse 73.

While Rj soon became the name to drop in hipster circles, he made his bones in the underground, playing a major role in that mid-west power surge better know as Columbus hip hop. After setting it of in 1998 with the Mhz crew on Bobbito Garcia’s legendary Fondle Em Records, he caught the attention of El-P and in 2000, he locked in with the Definitive Jux camp and soon made his DJX debut on Def Jux Presents I, co-starring with Company Flow, Cannibal Ox and Aesop Rock. Then came the now classic “Good Times” white label 12-inch and the rest has been indie hip hop history. Over the past few years, Rj’s profile as a producer has grown immensely as he’s clocked time on the boards producing or remixing Mos Def, Massive Attack, El-P, Aceyalone, Polyphonic Spree, Elbow, Cannibal Ox, and others, wielding a versatility rarely seen in music today. His prolific nature has brought him the unique accolade of ‘freelance producer/remixer extraordinaire’ in Urb Magazine’s Best of 2003 issue, amongst others. As one half of the duo Soul Position, he’s the ultimate team player, taking a back seat to his MC, Blueprint, and letting him do the talking, while RJ’s music keeps the heads nodding. Their 8 Million Stories LP was received in 2003 to rave reviews and continues to nod, and turn, heads.

2004 brings a new, self-titled album, a more focused and cohesive effort than Dead Ringer, while still maintaining the vitality and soulfulness that made is debut so enjoyable. Like a modern day Quincy Jones in the abstract, RJ truly orchestrated his new record, creating a multitude of new songs from all angles, writing music and lyrics, arranging vocals and melodies, auditioning singers and even experimenting with a vocoder. He cut out any fat or filler, and in an industry virtually afloat on the concept of the guest appearance, the album features none. Its strength instead lies in the meticulous programming, lush instrumentation and solid song arrangements. In many ways, an artist’s sophomore album is when their true colors are shown (or exposed), and when their real career begins (or begins to end). In the words of Jimmy Castor, its just begun.

  • Artist: Rjd2
  • Title: Since We Last Spoke
  • Label: Definitive Jux
  • Release date: May 18 ‘O4
  • click to download CD cover
  • Track Listing:
    • Since We Last Spoke
    • Exotic Talk
    • 1976
    • Ring Finger
    • Making Days Longer
    • Someone’s Second Kiss
    • To All Of You
    • Iced Lightning
    • Clean Living
    • Intro
    • Through The Walls
    • One Day

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