Tony Justice's Mjazz imprint returns for the fourth instalment of the Modernists series and this time around it is an almost complete departure from drum & bass... Ooh er.
Some albums are better simply listened to than over examined and critiqued. Listening to Modernists 4 I did experience an element of writers block. I like the album, some of it I really like, but if it needs further commentary, I'm not sure. The enduring feeling I have and suggestion to anyone else is to simply listen to it.
Having been a fan of the previous Modernists 1, 2 and 3, the fourth installment is something of a wild card. To start with, where it's predecessors have been predominantly drum & bass led, Modernists 4 serves up one 170 BPM track in the form of Jason oS' remix of Icons' "Time Undefined". The album in general really doesn't linger on one particular style, there is certainly a vein of an almost raw production that runs throughout, no of-the-moment production buzz techniques, just solid, well built electronic music. In a wider scene where so many artists subscribe to a "has to be done this way" set of production rules, tracks like Burlish's "LMcDIAT" and Betamax Heard's "Row-Land" favour a more hands on approach to building tracks.
Modernists 4 sees a less abstract use of the jazz in Mjazz than usual with tracks like "The Shakedown" from Critical Resistance and "Good Life" from Milestone sounding equally at home here as they would on Giles Peterson's Talkin' Loud imprint in the 90's. "Just In From Michigan" and "Soul Function" from Justice & Metro and Deep Blue & Justice respectively draw on Detroit and Chicago heritage sounds affirming Mjazz's retro revival sound of late. "Just In From Michigan" straddles somewhere between Moroder interlude pad sections from Scarface and KMS via UK breakbeat.
As you may be accustomed to, Modernists 4 comes on multiple formats, this time even including cassette tape for the revivalists. If you are listening on a Walkman or an iPod the latest in the Mjazz various artists series is more than worthy of some heavy listening with or without any journalistic scrutiny.
1. Burlish - LMcDIAT
2. Icons - Time Undefined (Jason oS remix)
3. Betamax Heard - Row-Land
4. Rawtrachs - Old Ting
5. Deep Blue & Justice - Soul Function
6. Cope - Fume
7. Milestone - Good Life
8. Critical Resistance - The Shakedown
9. Consumer - ED102
10. Betamax Heard - Larkin
11. Justice & Metro - Just in from Michigan
12. 3times - Outer Space