With his debut album Dead Ringer offering nothing but addictive, gritty, busy, sample-heavy hip-hop of the head-bobbing variety, U.S. producer RJD2 found himself in a Catch 22, something like damned if he grew and damned if he didn't. It's not as if his music was ignored or avoided because of that beloved debut, but "not Dead Ringer" was a phrase heard too often, right til his 2010 effort The Colossus welcomed a new crop of fans. As such, More Is Than Isn't is a "not The Colossus" effort as the strength and the power of that previous effort are smoothed-out here, beginning with bit of string-filled sweetness dubbed "Suite 1." Chock-full of soul and spirit, "Temperamental," with former Little Brother member Phonte Coleman, is arguably the best RJD2 vocal track to date, while "A Lot of Night Ahead of You" touches upon Dead Ringer's love of grind and grit, but the tinkling sequencers that fly about the cut are as 2013 RJD2 as the searing rock guitar that cuts through the track. Popped high on disco and furious congas, "Winter Isn't Coming" is a jazz fusion wonder that shines bright; then there's the delightful thrill of live-feeling jazz-funk ("Got There, Sugar?") giving way to Aaron Livingston delivering an excellent broken beat, future ballad ("Love and Go"). Explaining that "It All Came to Me in a Dream," rapper Blueprint speaks for the producer's motives on the closing cut, and even if More Is Than Isn't doesn't flow as well as his previous efforts, this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink experience is dazzling, always leaving the listener wondering what might come next.
More Is Than Isn't Review
by David Jeffries