LTJ Bukem/MC Conrad, Auditory Sculpture
31 N.W. First Ave.
Available at Platinum Records, 360 Vinyl, Starbass
Records and Zion’s Gate
Listening to LTJ Bukem is like being transported through space while staring too long at the stars.
There are few musical artists who can construct a mood, an atmosphere, an ambience as well as LTJ can, and it seems that everybody can somehow relate to his vision, even if everyone sees something different. Dreams fill me up as I drift away listening to LTJ’s sonic pleasures, with echoing electric pianos, cosmic strings, undiscovered beats, and samples of thoughts existing as their own entity.
LTJ Bukem, n퀌� Danny Williamson, has been producing breakbeat and jungle since the early days of the movement – the early ’90s, when hardcore techno was all the rage in the U.K. But it really doesn’t seem like he’s been around that long.
But it’s even difficult to label Bukem as “jungle producer” or anything else because that puts such severe limits on what his music actually is. Perhaps the best description is simply “fusion.”
LTJ takes breakbeat, jungle, techno, soul, downtempo, jazz, ambient and other sounds and shapes a new context for musical creation. This isn’t just “dance music” or “club music.” While it’s unfair to truly categorize any music as fitting one form, it is ridiculous to the nth degree to do so with Bukem’s extensive body of work, because it is something on its own, and one could argue, has something for everybody.
It’s been a long road for Bukem, from DJing to producing to the establishment of his own label, Good Looking. Besides his own work, the label has released many influential records, including the Progression Sessions and Earthcompilations, as well as work by dynamic artists such as MC Conrad, who will be appearing with LTJ on his current tour.
Conrad has been there since the beginning. He creates a “modern junglist soundsystem,” and rhymes and sometimes even “toasts” over Bukem’s productions and DJ work, though he’s worked on a variety of projects, beginning in hip-hop. But as jungle exploded in the ’90s as “the U.K.’s hip-hop,” Conrad was already working extensively with Bukem and his crew, taking the art of emceeing into the new century. He continues to push the boundaries, working on his own productions and live projects as well.
Without disrespect to any hip-hop emceeing, rhyming over jungle tracks is really where it’s at. And some hip-hop acts, such as Zion I, are shifting over. The end result is “fresh” in the truest sense of the word, even if the term is not exactly what it promises anymore.
A quick look at the tracklist from the album tells the listener what to expect Friday night. Take the “Journey Inwards” and “Undress Your Mind,” as the “Sunrain” brings your “Inner Guidance” “Close To The Source,” finding the “Suspended Space” of “Atlantis.” Dance, dream, feel and experience the sounds, touching down.