Jurassic 5's DJ Nu-Mark teams with fellow LA beatmaker Pomo for this entertaining, low-key collection for Up Above Records. Unlike Nu-Mark's Hands On, there are no raps on Blend Crafters, no MCs over top of these hooky, often loping tracks. But that only means it's a perfect album for all the would-be rappers out there to practice with. The album begins with "Melody," its funky piano and chattering drums blending with a manipulated voice that asks the musical question "What good is melody/If it ain't possessing something sweet?" "Lola" and "Beat the Odds" extend out "Melody"'s funk meter, and the latter is punctuated with familiar-sounding "Hey!"s and "Hit me!"s. These are solid, serviceable tracks. But Blend Crafters really takes off whenever Nu-Mark and Pomo can really show off their flair for assemblage. "Bad Luck Blues" starts with a deliberate beat drop and rickety, acoustic blues guitar picking out a melody. It's joined by woodwinds, and a bluesman crooning about bad luck. "The Shit" is simply but effectively built around a piano sample, a snippet of sax, and an emphatic hip-hop beat, and "Flute Fidelity" could be a refugee from Money Mark's Mark's Keyboard Repair with its crackling vintage organs and fluttering, reverb-drenched flutes. At first, the cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" seems like the album's biggest departure. For as much crate digging as these guys do, you wonder at first about something so immediately recognizable. But once the familiar piano trill has matched itself to a scratchy beat, Nu-Mark's "Imagine" turns to a breathy saxophone for the vocal melody, and even adds frilly elevator music strings to the chorus. With the choppy beat and sax, it's even interesting how much the song suggests Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Engagingly quirky and ready to be rapped over, Blend Crafters is an easygoing brew of beats and grooves.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus