It's hard to try to do something different when you get really good at doing one thing really, really well. Fat Jon's latest exemplifies this in that the album delivers more of a signature Fat Jon experience but I think that Fat Jon is somewhat stuck in a rut. So while he can make some brilliant music in his same style, I think it is time for a bit of evolution from the man.
I LOVE me some Fat Jon. Seriously, I do. It's just that after listening to the dizzying heights that electronic music and - more specifically - instrumental Hip-Hop music - is ascending to at this very moment due to some inventive producers like Four Tet, Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, etc...the man is starting to sound a bit dated. I mean, I understand that that sounds harsh, but I've been buying Fat Jon albums since way back when he made music that you could buy without paying an import tax. Granted, if these compositions were meant to be beats that an MC could flow over, maybe I'd see things differently. But the main issue I have with a lot of these tracks is that they just aren't interesting enough to stand on their own and that is the difference between Instrumental Hip-Hop and a beats record.
Ok, so Fat Jon hasn't flipped the script on us. That normally wouldn't be a bad thing, except for the fact that dude is starting to repeat himself just a bit. I have so much respect for Fat Jon as a producer because to me he is the very definition of the concept of underrated. It's a shame to me that more people didn't cop his work with Five Deez or with 3582 ("No Need To Run" is a classic in my eye...err, ears) to the point where most of his new albums are only available in Japan. I loved his work as Maurice Galactica or as the Ample Soul Physician. Maybe I'm just getting tired of this one style though and am starting to look for more. As new producers come out and push the limits of what is possible in an instrumental track an it seems disappointing to me somewhat that one of my favorite producers is emulating his past successes.
That isn't to say that there aren't bangers on this album - because there are. It's simply stating that I am a demanding listener and (dammit) I want more! I want to move this genre forward and Mr. Jon, we need your help!
...now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the amazing tracks on this on this album which represent about one third of the total. We do get shades of what is possible when Fat Jon tries to push the envelope such as on "W.Y.P.A.U" with its mix of some distorted sounds over the standard smoothed out drum kicks and jazz sounds that we've come to expect from a Fat Jon production. "Party Foul" is a good argument for the "if ain't broke, don't break it" school of thought delivering a simple, hypnotic beat that screams classic Fat Jon. "Imagine Seven" and "Muses" fall into this category as well.
Look, overall there's nothing really terrible on here (except maybe for "Leyes" which I really didn't understand). But there is almost nothing unexpected here and if you've listened to any of Fat Jon's other instrumental albums, you already know what to expect. There are a few exceptions here that deserve a spot next to some of the best work that he's done. I would love to see one of my favorite Hip-Hop producers of the first decade of the 2000's modify his sound to meet the next one. Give me more tracks like "W.Y.P.A.U." that are dynamic and have enough elements to exist without an MC on them...or else come back to MC'ing. This album would be ridiculous with some help from Fat Jon the MC but cannot necessarily stand on their own with just Fat Jon the Producer...and believe me, that is tough for this superfan to say.
3.833 out of 5
|1. Kissed in Shadow (03:28)||3|
|2. Spacesuit Proper (03:08)||3|
|3. Innocent at Once (03:25)||3|
|4. Soundgirl Personal (02:47)||5|
|5. W.Y.P.A.U. (03:16)||5|
|6. Rose Antennae (03:20)||4|
|7. Party Foul (01:32)||5|
|8. Lighthouse Sleeper (02:36)||4|
|9. Repaint Tomorrow (03:38)||3|
|10. Imagine Seven (03:47)||5|
|11. Muses (02:08)||5|
|12. Leyes (02:57)||2|
|13. Hero Style (01:59)||3|
|14. Tranquilizer (04:30)||4|
|15. Berlin Grey (03:34)||4|
|16. Sunrain (02:56)||3|
|17. Aesthetica (03:38)||4|
|18. Do It Like My Robots (03:37)||4|