Photo by Dan McMahon
Following RJD2 wherever his muse leads is an exhilarating experience. The noted DJ–born Ramble John Krohn–can alternately get a party started or concoct a moody, avant-garde instrumental. The building blocks are the same, though: RJD2 is a curator of the highest order, using samples and musical quotes from other sources to create songs that zig-zag between genres and eras.
Not surprisingly, RJD2’s own career has been a mishmash. He started out in the early ’90s providing backing tracks for rappers in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. His work soon spread through the underground, leading to a label deal and a career crafting beats for others. Yet RJD2’s biggest hits have come of his own accord. “Ghostwriter” has appeared on dozens of commercials, and “A Beautiful Mine” earned him a huge audience after it was picked as the theme music for AMC’s Mad Men.
It’s only fitting that RJD2’s new album is titled More Is Than Isn’t: if there’s one constant in his career, it’s his ability to weave wildly disparate sounds–from metal to gospel to jazz–into a cohesive whole. And like his past efforts, RJD2 gets a few vocal assists on the record. “Temperamental” finds the DJ trading wits with the Grammy-nominated Phonte Coleman, better known for his work in the North Carolina hip-hop trio Little Brother. The song features Coleman’s R&B-smooth voice over a monumental RJD2-crafted beat. “I burn it all down,” goes the catchy hook–perhaps indicative of RJD2’s own forward-thinking approach to music.
Catch RJD2 at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013:
Thur, Nov 7, 12:30 AM at The Parish (official Fun Fest Nites show)
Fri, Nov 8, 8:45 PM on the Blue Stage