Jel - 'Soft Money'

Soft Money' manages to both transcend and transform hip-hop<br/><br/>JAY / ALEX - This is the full length web version, shorter print version to follow. Photo caption and credit submitted with interview piece

Album Review by Bram Gieben | 15 Feb 2006
  • 'Soft Money'
Album title: 'Soft Money'
Artist: Jel
Label: Anticon
Jel's long awaited full-length solo LP is one of the most rewarding Anticon releases so far. To Buy A Car is a statement of intent, dismissing the notion of hip-hop as product. This is the Anticon effect - it can make other hip-hop seem empty by comparison. The lush textured guitar, cello and Rhodes organ of No Solution are simply beautiful, while Stefanie Bohm (of Ms. John Soda) contributes an etehereal vocal to All Around. The scratching on Thrashin is recorded at just the right pitch to reverberate inside the skull. The album is full of subtle intricacies of production - Jel's patterns and loops echo in and out of each other in dubbed-out, liquid phrases, psychedelic but refined. Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers (one of the most slept-on groups in the history of hip-hop) contributes some fine propaganda-busting rhymes on lead single WMD, while closer Chipmunk Technique has some more rhymes from Jel himself. He is consistently tight throughout the album, as are fellow contributors Wise, Odd Nosdam (of cLOUDEAD) and Pedestrian. The samples are inventive, and layered into the sound with an intricacy that comes directly from Jel's passion for music. He moves through dark soundscapes with a calm, assured, funk-injected swagger, in the calmer tracks building small cathedrals of echoing, fuzzed-out melody, each song flowing in to the next hypnotically, effortlessly. 'Soft Money' manages to both transcend and transform hip-hop, while calling on a broader musical heritage of folk, psychedelia and rock. This is a bold, bewitching album, and even if you have never heard of Anticon, you should go against Jel's advice in To Buy A Car, and buy this album - you need it. [Bram Gieben]
Out 20 Feb 2006. Jel tours the UK in March - see the Anticon website for details http://www.anticon.com