San Francisco DJ/producer J. Boogie’s remixes make turntable schizophrenia sound pleasing. His work on the Om Lounge series elevated his name among global downtempo giants, and his ragga-soul fusion on Ubiquity’s 1997 release Audio Alchemy 2 helped define the Bay Area’s dubbed-out electronic sound. Boogie’s latest, Live! in the Mix, features his mind-fuck quintet Dubtronic Science cooking up a delicious blend of funk, dub, soul, ambient house, hip-hop and Afro-beat over a melodic array of sitar, sax, baritone flute, rhymes and FXs.
Essentially, Live! in the Mix is an experimental global mix tape. Since cuts are fused from myriad genres, few songs sound alike. The downside, however, is the transitions at times seem hurried, jarring between one groove and the next.
Hip-hop-wise, Zion I keeps it crisp on “Sorry,” a remix featuring soulful singer Martin Luther and Carlos Araiza on the flute. Japan’s DJ Mitsu represents Detroit on “Right Here,” adding subtle Dwele croons on the chorus. Amp Fiddler’s “Dreamin’” gets mixed and J. Boogie lets the keyboardist’s skills run wild. Capitol A and Goapele sound a tad rushed on “Try Me” but strong instrumentation holds the tune together. Better blends creep up on Asheru and Talib Kweli’s “Mood Swing,” a Coltrane-meets-7 Heads slow jam that sees the emcees shining over sax and jazzy piano. The Afro-beat gems from Quantic add bounce, and OM mainstay Mark Farina keeps the lounge vibe in full effect.
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.