RJD2 – “More Is Than Isn’t” Review

From founding his own record label to building his own studio to amassing one of the most impressive synthesizer collections on the planet, RJD2 doesn’t like to do anything small, and his fifth LP is no exception.

The four years since his last record have been spent producing for various artists as well as his Icebird project with Aaron Livingston. The time was well spent, as RJ has clearly settled into his role as a producer. He only sings on one track, opting instead to let his signature dense and funky production style speak for him, while guest singers occasionally stop by to sprinkle lyrics atop his energetic tracks. 

The musical complexity of this album is more adventurous than anything he’s yet attempted, at times mixing elements of jazz, Motown, and some of the sampling/rhythmic techniques used by many dance producers. The album opens with “Suite 1,” an atmospheric piano piece that gently eases into “Temperamental” with guest singer Phonte Coleman, a soulful track reminiscent in style to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. “Temperamental” is followed by a pair of instrumental tracks that put any doubt about RJD2’s current direction to rest.

“Behold, Numbers!” puts his singular sampling and MPC skills on display, layering chopped drums and strings into an exciting arrangement of synth and percussion elements, followed by the album’s lead single “Her Majesty’s Socialist Request,” an energetic track whose bold arrangement and surprising melodic choices show the producer at his best. Over the 15 years since he first debuted, RJD2 has had as many successes as mistakes and failures, but he seems to have been taking notes and learning through the process.

More Is Than Isn’t isn’t just a culmination of the skills and lessons he’s taken in over the years, but an innovative and welcome return to form from one of hip-hop’s most unique voices.

RJD2-More-Is-Than-IsntRJD2
More Is Than Isn’t
Philadelphia, PA
(RJ’s Electrical Connection)
Produced, Mixed & Mastered by RJD2
www.rjd2.net

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