Nujabes
Modal Soul Classics


4.5
superb

Review

by Get Low USER (47 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2021 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Overlooked compilation album from Nujabes

Modal Soul Classics is a compilation album attributed to the late lo-fi hip-hop pioneer Nujabes. The fourteen tracks on this album, all by different artists, were compiled and mastered by Nujabes via his record label Hydeout Productions. Released in 2008, three years after Nujabes' second album Modal Soul, this compilation represents the music that inspired Nujabes during the conception of his own album, of which this album's namesake was drawn. Similar to Nujabes' Hydeout Productions Collections, Modal Soul Classics is composed of unrelated songs that share a prevailing lo-fi and jazzy aesthetic.

A breakdown of the album by predominant genres (feel free to dispute any of these classifications) sees 3 jazz (To Impress the Empress, Ai-No-Kawa, Iyawo), 1 jazz-rock (Vem Para Ficar), 2 electronic pop-rock (A Dream Goes on Forever, Folklore), 5 instrumental/new-age hip-hop (Atoll Moao, Winter Lane, Blue Asia, Omnipresence, Dionna), 2 rap songs (Under the Hood, Sound Network), and 1 long spoken-word poetry track (Children). Anyone who is familiar with Nujabes' music knows that these genres define his own work, and hearing individual songs of each genre, especially ones that influenced Nujabes directly, makes it feel as if one is listening to the building blocks that constructed the artist's legacy. This is not to understate the value of each song on the album though; in fact, every track on Modal Soul Classics is strong in its own right, and tells a story of its own.

If I felt I could condense it into an appropriate length – which I do not – I would write a review describing each individual track, and how every single one of them lead me to further inquiring about the artist(s) behind these tracks, which lead me even further to delving into full albums and even discographies by these artists. Nujabes loved not only creating music, but listening to it as well; and with the pedestal that he was always shy about acquiring during his lifetime, he used Modal Soul Classics to share his findings with as many fellow music-lovers as he could. Modal Soul Classics was Nujabes' bag of seeds, which he distributed and allowed to bloom through his listeners via our curiosity to discover new music.

The title "Modal Soul" has been discussed since Nujabes released his second album, and to spare everyone an explanation of the common word "soul", I share a definition of the less common word "modal", as follows: "modal – adj. – Relating to mode or form as opposed to substance" (Dictionary.com). Modal Soul is a modular album in its own right (as well as a soulful one), but I feel that Modal Soul Classics arguably works the title better. If I'm equating "substance" from the definition to plot or cohesion, this compilation album, as a compilation album, lacks both, while Modal Soul, a properly streamlined LP, ironically contains both. This is not to undermine Modal Soul Classics as jumbled, but rather, I see it as Nujabes fully realizing the meaning of his own phrase "modal soul". He did decide to keep it in the title after all, instead of naming it literally anything else.

Nujabes never faltered in terms of quality with his music, whether he was creating it, producing it, or compiling it. Modal Soul Classics has become overlooked in his discography over the years, in favor of his three studio albums (including the one posthumous), his Hydeout Productions Collections, and even his work for the Samurai Champloo anime. But Modal Soul Classics upholds the consistency of his body of work, and fans of Nujabes are doing themselves a disservice by dismissing this album when they find out that the music here is not his own. Even that statement doesn't seem true though, as the spirit of Nujabes lives and breathes through these classics as if he had never left us.



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user ratings (12)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Get Low
May 2nd 2021


10126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This was challenging to write (as compilations tend to be), but this deserved a review. Nujabes fans should check this asap

FadedSun
May 2nd 2021


2554 Comments


Honestly never knew it existed, so that might have contributed to it being overlooked. I knew there were lots of tributes being sprinkled around by various artists, though. Gonna check this.

Get Low
May 2nd 2021


10126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah those tribute albums suck, unfortunately. This is gold, though.

Ecnalzen
May 2nd 2021


10843 Comments


Have a couple others of the comps but not this one

Love everything I have heard Nujabes-related so far

Get Low
May 3rd 2021


10126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Everything Nujabes-related rules

PumpBoffBag
May 3rd 2021


1001 Comments


Nice write-up, really enjoyed reading. Spiritual State is all I've heard but I did love it, might have to give this a spin

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Get Low
May 3rd 2021


10126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks bro. Spiritual State is a good start.

Get Low
May 4th 2021


10126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfbDV4mtgK4



Here's a link to the album on Youtube. It's not on Spotify save for a handful of the individual songs that have been uploaded by their respective artists.

Jasdevi087
May 4th 2021


6686 Comments


come to argentina

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parksungjoon
May 4th 2021


31674 Comments


one of the new best rapers from brazil

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