Review Summary: RIP Jun Seba.
As living things, we Homo sapiens need a steady supply of certain ingredients to survive. From water to shelter, each is significant and helps define the way we live our lives. In music, the formula is undeniably similar. As a plant needs nutrients and light, a song requires both rhythm and pitch. Unfortunately, even with the proper ingredients and measurements the results are not always as expected. Stagnancy spreads throughout genres due to repetition, as well as a lack of skill or emotion. Luckily Nujabes (alias of Japanese DJ and hip-hop producer Seba Jun) avoids this and Modal Soul
will undoubtedly be a tasty addition to the hip-hop cookbook.
Within Seba's recipe exists all of the essential factors needed to be granted printing space in the book. He not only equips himself with jazzy instrumentals, but also with intelligent lyricists who are capable of gliding atop of them. Nujabes' reluctance to produce a track which isn't seemingly passionate or authentic, gives Modal Soul
a flavor never encountered before.
The taste is bold, distinguishable, and unlike many other flavors, all of the elements are seamlessly blended. He meshes hip-hop rhythms with jazz samples from the likes of Miles Davis and Yusef Lateef. Background pianos and parts of saxophone solos are all incorporated. Although the sampled jazz artists are high profiled, the featured underground hip-hop acts are also an important spice to the dish.
For Modal Soul
, Nujabes has recruited seven different emcees, rather than having one sole lyricist. Not only does each artist sound different, but their flow and lyrical topics are varied as well. The lyrics range from merely okay to excellent, yet always appropriate for the occupied instrumentals.
I'm just a vagabond with flowers for Algernon
The average Joe who knows what the f*ck is going on
It's the hope of my thoughts that I travel upon
Fly like an arrow of god until I'm gone
Taken from the track "Feather", these lyrics demonstrate the eloquent usage of imagery and other literary devices throughout the recipe. Because of the diverse artists featured on Modal Soul
, no track sounds quite like the last.
Overall, the recipe presented is more than adequate. Seba's ability to portray emotion is awe-inspiring and the majority of the instrumentals on here could in fact be enjoyed without the assistance of vocals. I believe it's a rare occurrence that someone as talented as Nujabes comes around, and his impact has already been felt. Modal Soul
is monumental, and easily serves as a tasteful addition to the hip-hop cookbook.
Recommended Tracks: "Feather", "Luv (Sic) Pt. 3", "Sea of Cloud", "The Sign"