Jel Soft Money

[Anticon; 2006]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: instrumental/underground hip-hop, trip-hop
Others: Odd Nosdam, Buck 65, Alias, Danny Breaks, DJ Krush

Anticon just keeps getting better. With each successive release from their core of highly talented abstract hip-hop/electronica producers, they further solidify their place in history as one of the highest quality and most influential independent labels of the new millennium. On the heels of last year's underappreciated Burner from Jeffrey "Jel" Logan's art-hop contemporary and cLOUDDEAD beatsmith Odd Nosdam, Soft Money continues to blur the line between downtempo electronica and underground hip-hop in its own distinct, highly gratifying way. Though it is a mostly instrumental album, Money's first delivered line acknowledges the ELEPHANT on the couch and gets personal politics out in the open right off the top. Jel comes right out and says "don't buy this product, you don't need it" before diving into a vicious criticism of post-9/11 American political culture. Jel's stance is later cemented by yet another hip-hop sampling of legendary Dead Kennedys singer/left-winger Jello Biafra, appearing on the raging lead single "WMD." "No Solution" is home to the fattest trip-hop subbase this side of Danny Breaks. Like all Jel projects, this record is drenched in the sound of the very same SP-1200 ten second sampler Jeff bought as a teen, bringing to mind the glitchier prog-hop of Buck 65 we saw in Square. It's albums like this that give me hope for the future. It may be Soft, but it's money all the way.

1. To Buy A Car
2. All Day Breakfast
3. No Solution
4. All Around
5. Trashin'
6. Sweet Cream In It
7. Soft Money, Dry Bones
8. Know You Don't
9. WMD
10. Mislead
11. Nice Last
12. Chipmunk Technique

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