23 August 2015

two turntables and a saxophone - two turntables and a saxophone - 2005

I did not appreciate this album nearly enough when my immature ears first heard it a decade ago. It's a well-executed fusion of jazz, house, and ambient sounds that has a kind of snarky sheen that makes it just cool enough to play at a party or to be featured as the soundtrack of a gritty cop drama that takes place in a futuristic dystopian city.

We open with "At Peace," which features a serious, monotone vocal sample scattered among the titular turntables and sax. It feels like the opening credits of a neo-noir film. "Passion," which follows, is another slow-burner à la some of Daft Punk's downtempo stuff (but with scratching and a sax).

"What If" is where we first hear the clearest attempt at straightforward jazz, with the sax melody at the forefront.

"Open Heart" takes a turn into something much more electronic. The sax is absent, and it's driven by computerized synth melodies and plunky air-puff snare sounds.

"Falling Up" and "Listen" are both ambient tracks, mixing in some woodwind sounds amid the scratching and beats. They recall early-'90s new age tracks.

The vocal samples return on "World Within," which quickly becomes a midtempo synth-rock groove, with the saxophone once again leading the melody.

This is a well-executed experiment and a great listen for a comfortable, chillout evening (maybe even an in-house date!), but I don't think there would have been more than one album worth of material here. For the one, though, I am grateful!