The Anomaly – DJ Logic
Ropeadope Records 93041-2
No one can question DJ Logic's influence on the current crop of jamband
releases, however, some may question the naming of his latest album "The
Anomaly". In defining anomaly, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary states:
"deviation from the common rule: irregularity". Listening to "The Anomaly",
indeed some irregularity exists, yet common house/hip-hop rhythms add far
more cohesion then his debut outing "Project Logic". Analyzing the notion of
"common rule," on "The Anomaly," DJ Logic never creates an anomaly, as he
always adheres to the "common rules" of certain musical styles, be these
styles "Bitches Brew"-styled jazz in Miles Away or Middle Eastern
hip-hop highly reminiscent of Jonas Helborg's past explorations on
Soul-Kissing. No deviation occurs, and – in fact – the album sounds
like a historical, sonic compilation.
For example, the album opens with French Quarter, which will remind
many listeners of the Ed Lover dance from the YO! MTV Raps days.
Casey Benjamin's saxophone antics pull the music to a conspicuous jazz
arena, but the music itself remains a derivative from a sampled piece of
music's past. When DJ Logic grabs for his own sound, noticeable on Ron's
House or Hip-Hopera, he points towards his influences,
Miles Davis and Graham Haynes respectively rather than creating something
avoiding the common rule. In fact, Haynes creates far better and more
astounding Hip-hopera on his 2000 release "BPM" by combining dance rhythms
and Wagner. Being a Haynes fan, DJ Logic certainly realized his
contemporary's potent creation.
One must wonder where DJ Logic's voice resides, an arduous question to
consider given his instrumentation: the ones and twos. Every scratch and
slip, sample and dope fill, exists in another time period, frozen in an
alluded past which binds and segregates the work. Hence, irregularity
becomes a term pontificated and yet the work never exists on its own,
because the vinyl grooves are already frozen, speaking from somewhere long
forgotten, thus pulling the listener back into remembrance of time past. In
this moment of matter and memory, the DJ cannot create "irregularity," for
the "common rules" are based on the past's regularity, on the accepted plane
of an Arista, Warner Brothers or Gator records.
Still this does not make DJ Logic's "The Anomaly" unenjoyable or invalid.
As the listener moves stealthily through multiple dance rhythms,
excruciatingly beautiful passages where Miri Ben-Ari's sensuous
Middle-Eastern violin playing combines with tablas and drones on
Soul-Kissing and the hazy dub, redolent with pot sounds of
Afronautical, the intensity and sincerity of "The Anomaly" cannot be
denied. DJ Logic's talents as a bandleader and musical guru are unmatched
and unchallenged, as he has moved far beyond his MMW brethren to truly
bridge the gap between jazz and hip-hop. The problem resides, in the philosophical
sentimentalism that the music he creates cannot solely traverse the chasm between two
once seemingly disparate musical categories, as the
insistence of a new "irregularity" arising becomes merely an insistence
rather than a result.