Call me cliché, boring and predictable, but many of my favorite electronic records are those that combine dance music with the fluid beauty of jazz music. DJ Shadow might be one name to drop, as well as RJD2, and on a much grander scale, Cinematic Orchestra. But of course, even before that, the likes of Guru and Tribe Called Quest were injecting jazz samples into their fresh beats. And let’s not forget Madlib, who created a whole album based on samples from the Blue Note catalog. The list goes on, really, and is just to illustrate my point that there are scarcely any poorly executed jazz-tronica albums. And on that, I’d like to direct your attention to Induce, a Miami producer who specializes in instrumental hip-hop, that is, sprinkled with liberal amounts of jazz.
Listening to Cycle, Induce’s debut, is likely to remind one of many of the greats mentioned above. Shadow, RJD2 and DJ Cam are particularly strong reference points on a record such as this, as Induce creates a similarly fluid downtempo hip-hop sound. Though a brief intro called “The Re-Introduction” (I had never heard of him before so this is lost on me) starts the record, the true opening comes with “Coltrane’s Brain (The Rebirth),” a stunning jazz number turned trip-hop, with spoken word samples about, well, jazz. This song, itself, is a true masterpiece, though it’s merely one track out of ten (plus three bonus tracks), and the album is not without its other gems.
“Call (Original Mix)” takes the jazzy sound to another level, that being a trippier, more fusion type level. Here’s where Induce sounds most like Shadow, particularly for his oblique, ambient samples and stuttering drum breaks. But string samples bring more drama in “Resuscitation,” a much more cinematic and vibrant production. “Systematic Mechanic,” meanwhile, is a minimal number with eerie ambience. “A Wave of Calm Before The Warm” bridges the first half to the second with Boards of Canada-like analog weirdness, and the following track, the monumental “Color Clouds Blue (Version 2),” is the album’s centerpiece—a long, shoegazing hip-hop epic, the likes of which have scarcely been heard outside of a My Bloody Valentine remix.
I don’t know much about Induce, but I do know that he is an Akai whiz-kid when it comes to churning out sampladelic hip-hop. It’s still a beginning, and the record is somewhat short in comparison to Induce’s peers’ albums. Even with a few minor (and I mean minor) flaws, it has remarkably high replay value and plenty of melodic intrigue to spare.
RJD2 – Deadringer
DJ Cam – The Loa Project, Vol. 2
David Holmes – Let’s Get Killed
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.