June 18, 2024


I Fall For Art

DJ Cam – Mad Blunted Jazz – Album Review

DJ Cam aka Laurent Daumail is a DJ from France. His album “Mad Blunted Jazz”, released in 1996, is a two disc set, which contains the two previously released albums “Underground Vibes” and “Underground Live Act”. The album can be classified as a trip hop or downtempo recording, which has ambient and breakbeat influences.

“Mad Blunted Jazz” blends fat slow-paced hip hop beats with fittingly applied jazzy chords, making the whole recording sound organic. The rhythmic structure can be compared to the simple East Coast beats nurtured by DJ Premier, Rakim, and the like. The “blunted” jazz riffs, airy vibraphone chords, and delicately fragmented vocals are accompanied by seductive bass lines and turntable scratching.

Many of the samples are from famous jazz recordings. For instance, the album’s title track features the piano from the intro part of “The Pleasure Is Mine” by Herbie Hancock. “Suckers Never Play That” has extracted a clip from “Lost” by Wayne Shorter.

“Mad Blunted Jazz” gives credit to various singers. “Sang-Lien”, with its deep and dark bass loop, has French vocals by Benedicte Pardijon aka Ben. “Free Your Turntable And Your Scratch Will Follow” has sampled Jeru the Damaja, an American rapper and recording artist. Tracks “Meera” and “Lost Kingdom” feature an Indian vocalist Kakoli Sengupta. “Dieu Reconnaitra Les Siens” includes Lady Kier of American house and club group called Deee-Lite.

The second cd of the DJ Cam’s “Mad Blunted Jazz”, which was initially released separately as “Underground Live Act”, was mixed live on the 30th of November 1995 at the Transmusicales De Rennes festival, and has therefore a live club atmosphere where one track transitions smoothly to other. This live recording also includes some remixed songs from the first cd, like “London 1995”, which is a drum and bass remix of the track “Underground Vibes”.

Due to the laid-back grooves and the minimalistic use of samples, the overall mood is entrancing and relaxing. “Mad Blunted Jazz” draws on variety of influences: from the cool jazz of Miles Davis, to the dreamy melodies of Eastern and Indian music. At the same time it layers all those elements into one exquisite whole, without breaking their initial essence and flow.

DJ Cam’s “Mad Blunted Jazz” is often considered to be one of the early trip hop recordings, which participated in the electronic music development of the 1990’s. While being simplistic in its architecture, the hypnotic beats evoke a smooth and darker-colored atmosphere, detaching the listener from whatever it is that does not suit the subtle and chilled out vibe of this old school flavored album.