James Yancey
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Donuts (2006), 6.5/10
The Shining (2006), 6/10

James Yancey, who had inaugurated his "alternative" career with the EP Ruff Draft (2002 - Stones Throw, 2007) under the moniker J Dilla, upped the ante of samples-based (and schizophrenically fragmented) hip-hop with Donuts (2006), credited to both his nicknames J Dilla and Jay Dee. This cauldron of 31 brief audio skits (that rarely exceed the two-minute mark) sounds like a mash-up of soul, easy-listening and soft jazz of the 1970s. Shuffling around fragments of lost vocal hits (Light My Fire, Two Can Win), hypnotic psychedelic loops (Waves, People), catchy instrumental jams (The Diff'rence), even a martial hard-rock riff (Walkinonit) and a great satire of industrial music (Da Factory), plus sociological parodies of commercials (Lightworks) and of mass hysteria (The Twister, one the surreal peaks), Yancey paint a vast fresco of the consumer society, a sort of digital version of what Frank Zappa used to do in the 1970s. Where it works, the project is a triumph of a phantasmagoria. Unfortunately, half of the album could have been trimmed away.

The Shining (2006) was, instead, based on vocals and on live instrumentation. Yancey died at 32 in 2006.

Jay Stay Paid (Nature Sounds, 2009) is a posthumous compilation of unreleased material.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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