LTJ Bukem

Earth, Vol. 2

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The Earth series features a style of mellow drum'n'bass that samples heavily from the feel and sounds of '70s soul, funk, and jazz music, as well as early-'90s instrumental hip-hop. The resulting music is rather dynamic with the freshness of drum'n'bass and nostalgic elements of the past. In addition, the song arrangements do not follow any clear-cut pattern or formula; they always lead the listener down a long, winding path of non-secular aural pleasure. Though the beats of the Good Looking crew aren't nearly as simple or symmetric as hip-hop beats, they flow at a much more sedate pace then the style of drum'n'bass that's most often associated with Bukem and his roster of artists. Artemis' "Silver Down," for example, lays down a jazzy atmosphere of hip-hop style beats and layers synth melodies, a shimmering harp, the sounds of rainfall, and even a flute over that. Again, the result seems fresh and modern yet it's polluted with nostalgic, ghost-like sounds from the past. Bukem's contribution, "Cosmic Interlude," leans heavily toward jazz with an upright bass and the looped rhythms of high-hat drum tapping. Much more eloquent than the drum'n'bass-meets-jazz stylings of Roni Size on the New Forms album, Bukem's track gleams with beauty, yet it is just one of many quality pieces here. Other exceptional cuts include the sublime texture of Rollercone's "Fictions," the naturalistic sounds of Blu Mar Ten's "Adrift on Deep Water," and the album's intense drum'n'bass climax in DJ Crystil's "Mind Games." Overall, this collection represents the vast possibilities for drum'n'bass as a medium not only for dancing but also for tranquil contemplation.

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