For some unexplained reason, far too many DJ-as-artist albums blow chunks. It's one thing to get all jazzy playing other people's music, but when it comes to producing original material, some high-profile club jocks cave under the pressure, churning out predictable or underwhelming albums that quickly turn tiresome. For every DJ Krush, Jazzanova, or Thievery Corporation, there's a hundred DJ Svens from Denmark cluttering up the electronic music bins.
Then there's J-Boogie, a local boy who makes good beats. Long rumored to be in the works, the popular DJ's debut artist album has finally arrived, which means that no longer will you be able to say, "Hey, J-Boog, what's taking you so fucking long, man?" when you see him spinning at a local nightspot. Now when you bump into the Boogieman, you can holla at him about how effortlessly his album flows from rootical dancehall vibes ("Universal Dub") to booming hip-hop ("Movin' to My Beat") to fierce uptempo workouts ("Rainfall") to after-hours chill-out mode ("Oceanic Lullaby").
Despite its futuristic title, Dubtronic Science sounds quite contemporary. J-Boogie doesn't push the musical envelope as much as moisten it, yet he navigates the slick grooves with an adept touch. He gets some vocal assistance from Omega, People Under the Stairs, Tony Moses, Goapele, and Bamuthi, but it's his globally focused musical vision that makes the whole thing work. Often employing exotic-sounding samples and loops, J-Boogie's dancefloor alchemy conjures up the Caribbean one moment and India the next -- then it's off to South America. More than a mixtape, yet not so pretentious you can't shake your moneymaker to it, J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science honors and upholds SF's reputation as a DJ haven.
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