Day 234: Nujabes – Modal Soul

20 Oct

Feather

When I write about hip-hop, I usually take the easy way out by saying that I’m not sure what to look for.  How can I really determine if an album is good or not (beyond the very basic “it sounds good”) based on my limited knowledge of the genre? Well, that won’t be happening this time around.  Nujabes beats on Modal Soul are pretty much objectively awesome.

Jun Seba (see what he did there?) was a fantastic Japanese hip-hop producer and indie label owner.  Unfortunately, his life was taken in a car accident early last year, but his music lives on.  Modal Soul, released in 2005, is 14 tracks of amazing Nujabes-made beats, rapped over by various guest artists.  While the rhymes are of varying degrees of average, they are by no means the focal point of this record.  What stands out in my mind after a single listen to Modal Soul?  It’s da beats.

Nujabes had some serious skill in the hip-hop production department.  It takes a whole lot to get me interested in a jazzy piano riff, but Nujabes does so multiple times on this single album.  Placed in front of some killer drum machine rhythms, and chopped up enough, I guess anything can start sounding good.

While the rapping is nothing spectacular (it would have been cooler if it were in Japanese), Modal Soul does benefit from the various human voices that it includes.  As good as these beats are, this record may have not held its own as an instrumental hip-hop release.  That may just be me, though—I have never been a fan of the extremely repetitive.

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One Response to “Day 234: Nujabes – Modal Soul”

  1. Chilly Chops October 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Very nice. Almost chamber rap. You may enjoy this by the self-proclaimed musical maxi-pad of rap, Chilly Gonzales: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoendBllLs4&feature=related

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