Allow me to lend you a hand on this one:
1. something that deviates from the norm or from expectations
2. something strange and difficult to identify or classify
Aptly titled, The Anomaly delivers soulful expressions laid out in a musical gumbo that will reach the depths of its listeners the way Hannibal enjoys a nice fava bean sauce with his his dinner guest. Listening to the collective of band members known as Project Logic makes one want to find them in a hidden jazz club on the south side of Chicago on stage laying down the thumps and strokes of this piece. This shit is nnnniiiiicccceeee. The Anomaly is reminiscent of recent attempts by other artists to capture a truly enjoyable sound that fuses traditional instruments with turntables with a semi-hip-hop feel to it. There is an undeniable champion effort being exemplified right from the opening track.
Project Logic is; Casey Benjamin on ewi, flute, rhodes, and saxophones; Stephen Roberson on drums; Mike Weitman on keyboards; Scott Palmer on bass; and of course DJ Logic on turntables, effects, and beats. The guest artists hold their own and sometimes take over joints with the simple bellowing of their voice.
Opening the session is a sure shot jam piece called “French Quarter.” With the songs foundation planted in Marva Whitney’s “Unwind Yourself” (most notably used as the “900 Number” by Mark the 45 King) you are taken through a southern baptist pulpit and a dirt road juke joint for every bit of its four minutes and four seconds. The vocal ranting here crack me up. One minute you think the guy is about to command that you stop acting like a BIA BIA! The next minute you’re diggin’ in your pockets to put a dead prez in the collection plate. Bring on the Mardi Gras!
The best drum and base/jungle being plaid these days is coming out of acts that actually use drums and basses instead of computer programming. My proof positive example comes in the form of “Frequency One” – a rapid fire joint that features Deantoni Parks on the skins. There is a lot of things going on in this song. You can get caught up listening to Logic’s scratching, Medeski’s keys, or Gibbs’ bass. Parks’ sporadic drum playing serves as the dressing to this mixed salad.
These cats broke out an ewi! Hell, I had to do a “search” to find out how to pronounce it and what exactly an ewi looks like. Honestly, I can’t say the significance of it being played in “Bean-E-Man,” but I do know the song is dope. Picture, a revamped version of the Sanford and Son theme music. With all due respect to the classic and Quincy Jones they lay some funky rhythms down. The track does embody portions of a ’70s tune called “Water Torture” written by Bennie Maupin. Project Logic brings it up to speed with some drum and bass patterns mixed in for a contemporary feel.
Probaly the most versatile joint in the batch is “Soul Kissing.” It’s billed as a house cut, but plays like a gypsy promenade conjuring up a head trip you didn’t even pack a lunch for. Loads of smooth violin and vibe playing going on with this expressive piece. You could hear this on the radio and it would fit the format. You could hear it in a club and it would blend right in. Anytime you combine a violin, vibes, bass, tablas, and balafon into one heartfelt piece you’re bound to get something special.
Remember the opera performance from the movie “The Fifth Element?” Don’t even front like you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. Somebody told you Tricky was in it and you just had to see what role he would play. But yeah, the scene where the blue sista dropped the ill vocals just before catching a slug and giving up the stones is the closest I can come to describing what is going on in “Hip-Hopera.” Marie Claire does some serious whaling for ya which is haunting in a melodic sense. I don’t even think she was speaking a known language; just cutting loose from some seriously deep regions of her essence. This is the kind of element that sets “The Anomaly” apart from other DJ experiments.
Ending the set is “An Interlude”, “Miles Away”, “Drone” and “On a Mission.” This section could very well have been left off and used as an EP or something to spread the creativity out clear into 2002 or something. Vernon Reid enters the production area here and his impact is undeniable. There is just a hint of Project Logic in these last jams, which I’m sure is your clue to go back and pick that joint up ASAP! Finding this LP may be amusing for you though. It seems the clones behind the counter don’t know how to file “The Anomaly” – some will say trip-hop, some dance, and even others electronic. After the dude behind the counter explains how he’s not really sure they carry such a title, flick a booger onto his veggie sandwich from the local “wanna-be cool” eatery and explain to him how they’d better have it the next time you come into his establishment; that is, IF you come back.