Cut Chemist, The Audience’s Listening (2006)
Cut Chemist’s The Audience’s Listening could be from a time capsule buried in 1998, when epic instrumental albums like Return of the DJ and Q-Bert’s Wave Twisters were all the rage. And that’s a good thing. Unfairly maligned in recent years as a province of bedroom geeks disconnected from mainstream rap culture, turntablism still holds creative potential, which the onetime Jurassic 5 member makes astonishingly clear. On “The Garden,” Cut Chemist opens with a deft pattern of jazz banjo before laying in an exotic female vocal over orchestral strings and deep, yearning melodies. With “Storm,” he draws guest MCs Edan and Mr. Lif into an electro stomper that distorts their voices like zapped antibodies. These primary numbers are surrounded by sample/scratch fancies like “Motivational Speaker” and “Spat” that hearken towards Kid Koala’s work as well as Cut Chemist’s own classic “Lesson 6: The Lecture.” The Audience’s Listening is witty, lighthearted, and artfully constructed, and you can hear the depth in his machinations. Warner Bros. Records.