Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dusty Groove: The Vinyl Room

I think it's safe to say that if I could hang out with ANY production crew, it would be Organized Noize.

I mean, if this hypothetical and delusional question was based on craft alone, and if I was a wizard, I would stand behind J Dilla all day and night just to soak in the ambiance of Genius, but chances are that once I got there I would go into catatonic shock and be rendered speechless and wouldn't even be able to offer to run to the store for him (my treat, obviously) so we wouldn't even be able to talk about how "Find A Way" changed my world forever and still continues to absolutely destroy every molecule in my being OR about the bass line on "Dynamite" and how it is the Greatest. Bass. Line. Of. All. Time.

But that would be totally cool because honestly, I would be content just watching him push a fader up and down. So, good thing that would never happen.

However, if we are talking about a mind blowing musical education session + the most fun I could ever have with my clothes on, you would find me in Atlanta in the Dungeon with Sleepy, Rico and Ray.

Just started absorbing this little underrated gem from 1998. I adore OutKast and Goodie Mob, but what I reallllllllly love more than anything, is Sleepy Brown's voice. It's the audible equivalent of a time machine. It's almost as if Curtis Mayfield, late '70s Marvin Gaye and Leon Ware all melted their honeyed voices into a Crock Pot, and then let it simmer all day. And when it was time to enjoy it, Organized Noize added a pinch of synth, a dash of crisp drumming, a ton of lush orchestration and a generous sprinkling of dreamy wah-wah riffs and then served it to you while you reclined on a cloud.

His fantastic solo (and most recent, unfortunately) album, 2006's Mr. Brown which I listen to on extensive repeat all the time, is a culmination of sorts; it marries his soul and funk pedigree with the sonic hip-hop aesthetics of Stankonia. But this record, Noize's first solo creative outlet, The Vinyl Room, is pure unadulterated hot, buttered, soul, with only a tiny mix of Dungeon Family humor filled skits thrown in.

The trio, using the moniker Sleepy's Theme, pretty much reinterprets the silky falsettos of Curtis Mayfield (fun fact, Sleepy Brown worked on the legend's last album, 1996's New World Order) and the layered melodies of Barry White without any pastiche or derivative results. For those who think this kind of record is a '70s cliche or knockoff, you are a. wrong and b. clearly don't know much about the immaculate blueprint that our beloved soul and funk giants created. Yes, Gaye, Mayfield, White, Ware, Hayes and co. left behind an often imitated but never duplicated legacy. But, they also left behind an invaluable text book that if studied properly and diligently, can be reinterpreted, extrapolated and re-imagined to create shimmering and gorgeous results. And this album, much like Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, is proof that some people do their fucking homework.

Three of my favorite tunes on the album after the jump.

"Still Smokin'":

"Private Party" (ignore the ridiculous homemade YouTube video):

"Simply Beautiful":