Eleven years after the release of his much-loved debut, 2002′s Deadringer, comes the release of RJD2′s fifth full-length album, More Is Than Isn’t. Although electronic music has grown to become more popular and, by extension, more profitable, RJD2 has made a point of sticking to his guns and making music that he earnestly thinks is the shit as opposed to what popular culture has deemed to be the shit. In other words, he is the musician’s musician.
With a runtime of a little under an hour, More Is Than Isn’t is yet another deft showcase of boundary-pushing, hip hop-based electronic goodness. The album kicks off with the deceptively mellow piano keys and bird chirps of “Suite 1″ before launching into the smooth-as-hell Phonte Coleman collab “Tempermental.” The album’s third track, “Behold, Numbers!,” has the distinction of being my favorite track on the album and features some seriously stunning strings and top-notch track progression before culminating in a gorgeous breakdown.
The album’s lead single, “Her Majesty’s Socialist Request,” throws in a guitar-laced curve ball that gradually adds some seemingly bizarre layers — ragtime piano player meets snake charmer, anyone? — to form a complex and downright dope track. “Milk Tooth” is simply sublime and beautifully leads into the simplistic yet alluring “Suite 2.”
I’m still trying to decide if the lyrics to “See You Leave,” which features STS and Khari Mateen, are more hilarious or misogynist. I’m leaning toward the former, but I have a feeling that women’s groups may disagree with me on that one. “Descended From Myth” is every bit as badass as its name suggests. It would work exceedingly well on the most epic of epic sports movie montages and consequently has been added to my workout playlist. Even with the blaring fanfare of trumpets, the track still takes the listener through a series of movements that make the song more than a catchy, instant gratification track.
If there’s one thing RJD2 has a knack for, it’s keeping things fresh. Since his first full-length release, RJD2 has made a name for himself via his innovative use of samples, broad and ever-changing range of influences, and mindfuckingly awesome live shows that still feature crates of records, turntables, and his own magical fingers. Where other artists tend to lose their luster come album number five, RJD2 takes it as an opportunity to stretch his musical limbs even further.
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