Wise In Time The Ballad of Den the Men

[Crammed; 2006]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: café mix CDs, chill out samplers, European electronica
Others: Juryman, Goldfrapp, Moby, Zero7

Producers like Ian Simmonds are far too busy (and possibly pretentious) to have just one name. When he's not busy producing, remixing, making albums under the name Juryman, and DJing in practically every continent, he manages to take on the moniker Wise In Time. Combining everything he's good at, Wise In Time offers up a modest session of chilled out electro-jazz, smooth DJ beats, and top notch production. Simmonds lays down the most comfortable rhythms and bass lines over folk guitar strumming, French accordions, Rhodes keyboard, soft trumpets, and DJ scratching drift in and out. If it weren't for his unique vocal style, with its dry, menacing resonance like Leonard Cohen, his music would be background-appropriate and fair game for a chill out sampler. But Simmonds places his uncompromised, deadpan voice in front of the mix, and it is indeed a sharp contrast to his slickly produced tunes. Unfortunately, the words coming out of his mouth don't live up to the unique quality of his voice. Even more unfortunate is the fact that his generically passive lyrics are printed in the liner notes so as not to go unnoticed. For better or worse, his peculiar vocals don't have a drastic effect on his music either way, and although The Ballad doesn't take any huge risks, it's impossible to deny Simmonds' talent as a producer. Like an alchemist (or more realistically, like a DJ) he has a talent for bringing together wildly varied genres, but, rather than being over-stimulating, makes a super-cool, homogenized blend of his own.

1. The Fox
2. Firing Line
3. Nine
4. Lord
5. Crazy Chair
6. Backfire Band
7. Letters
8. Back from Somehow
9. Ballad
10. The Well
11. Jah Walker
12. Part Two
13. The Station

Most Read