Jel – Late Pass
Jerry 'Jel' Logan's third album proper, a follow-up to 2006's impeccable Soft Money, is difficult to appreciate with the proper awe until you have seen him play live. The foremost practitioner of sample-based MPC production and performance, Jel uses hip-hop's favourite drum machine in a manner that can only be described as symphonic – every single note played via his intricate, polyrhythmic finger-drumming as samples loop and trigger, creating intensely psychedelic hip-hop patterns and textures.
Sonically dirtier than its baroque predecessor, the new material combines that album's depth and scope in terms of sound with filthier, more upfront beats. The raps, when they come, are swathed in static and distortion; the basslines nod to his more recent, funk and boom-bap inspired breaks for Serengeti, or to Anticon's more song-based output on tracks like Bubble.
Jel is right to say that "motherfuckers are late" to recognise his talent – as one of the beatsmiths behind Themselves and Deep Puddle Dynamics, he helped define the early Anticon sound, and his majestic solo work deserves wider attention. In particular, the grinding, fuzzed-out psychedelia of Look Up is superlative, but the beauty of his work is its consistency – this is an album that demands to be listened to as a whole, preferably on vinyl, and experienced in its raw, uncut form in the live arena.