2. Big Lost
4. Into The Sun
5. Way More
6. Money Power Respect
7. Diplo Rhythm
9. Indian Thick Jawns
10. Summers Gonna Hurt You
11. It's All Part Of A Bigger Plan
- Florida (Ninja Tune)
is hard to pin down exactly why the dance music scene has
slumped so dramatically into its current recession and electronic
music of all types has seemingly fallen out of favour. It
could be the great rock revival we are experiencing, it
might be the surge in downloading, perhaps a collective
shift in taste.
alternatively, be due purely to the onset of sheer boredom
and frustration with what for many has become mere music-by-numbers
made by artists that place technology above creativity.
Thankfully there are still artists out there trying to offer
the seemingly beleagured genre something original and interesting
to dig its way out of a hole and Diplo definitely falls
under this banner.
cover of Florida features a hand reaching out of sun-kissed
waters clutching a blinging belt buckle bearing Diplo's
name. This in itself gives a clue towards the album's hip
hop sensibilities which are combined with an earthier, more
natural ambience. Ok, so the use of heavy hip hop beats,
glitchy stop-start percussive touches and DJ Shadow-y
sample trickery is far from groundbreaking but just when
you feel you are heading into familiar territory Diplo throws
you off-course with the unexpected and reignites your interest.
More, for instance, with its clicking kick drum, squelching
electronic bass, and warm, hushed chords sounds initially
like any other 'glitch-tronica' track but then a full burst
of brass and easy jazz swing pricks the eardrums. Another
example, Sarah, has UNKLE stamped all over
it as light piano floats over a grinding guitar loop to
create a dark, sleazy and smoky atmosphere. This is blown
away by lazy trombone and rasping trumpet and the sun comes
out, albeit hazily before disappearing again behind the
exception to this rule is provided by Into The Sun. With
its reverse beats and backwards samples forming an uneasy
backing to Martina Topley-Bird's icy vocals,
this is pure Massive Attack and holds no
surprises. A simple tune that, despite its almost folky
flute samples, is firmly rooted in the Bristol sound of
1995, but is all the same a strong, if slightly derivative,
track. The happy and quirky Diplo Rhythm is also definite
single material with a trio of vocalists adding some flowing
raps and ragga chatter over a buzzing, electro backing that
conjures up memories of an old school computer game soundtrack.
are many other highlights worthy of note on what is a strong,
well-structured debut: The uneasy electronic jazz of Works'
with its eerie organ, staggering beats, and drug-trip samples.
The tabla-introduced Indian Thick Jawns with P.E.A.C.E.
spitting out a breakneck rap over an Indo-orchestral backdrop.
And Summer's Gonna Hurt You where violin and soft analogue
chords merge with melancholic male and haunting female voices
to create an epic downtempo symphony. All are superbly executed
and serve to elevate Diplo further still above some of his
is heavy on atmospherics and conflicting moments of uplifting,
sunny lightness sit next to dark, overcast introspection
as inspired interjections of jazz make tracks spin off on
unexpected tangents. A lot of thought seems to have been
put into producing an album varied enough to retain interest
while also ensuring it all hangs together properly and maintains
its own distinct sound.
stunning and never less than competent, this is an excellent,
diverse collection of instrumental hip hop excursions, laid
back grooves and whacked out rap tracks. This album triumphantly
announces that there is a new kid on the beats block and
he might just knock DJ Shadow's b-boy cap