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DJ Logic: Zen of Logic

Through his affiliation with funky jam-band chameleons Medeski, Martin and Wood, DJ Logic (Jason Kibler) has been instrumental in bringing jazz improvisation to hip-hop (and vice versa). A highly in-demand turntablist among New York’s avant-jazz set, Logic also has worked with guitarist Vernon Reid in Yohimbe Brothers, whose 2002 album Front End Lifter displayed the duo’s eclectic tastes and diverse skills, and with Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte on Groundtruther’s Longitude.

That said, Logic’s third solo album, Zen of Logic, is much more hip-hop-oriented than the aforementioned endeavors. Funk, enhanced by Logic’s scintillating array of turntable tricks, predominates. With production from hip-hop demigod Scotty Hard (Material, New Kingdom, Wu-Tang Clan, Kool Keith and many others), Zen of Logic bares a vividly punchy and spacious sound that guarantees head-nodding and hip-swiveling among all but the bed-ridden.

However, no Logic album is one-dimensional, and Zen of Logic also threads African, Indian and Central European elements into his off-kilter urban soundscapes. “Balifon Planet” features slurred Hendrixian guitar riffage, an ultrafunky beat reminiscent of Billy Cobham’s ominous “Stratus,” and African thumb-piano tinklings that sound like mantric marimba runs. “9th Ward Blues” is a heartfelt, if obvious, tribute to N’awlins funk and blues while “Afro Beat” is a self-explanatory excursion into Nigerian funk with Fela Kuti enthusiasts Antibalas. The track’s inspirational, sinuously sensual and celebratory-a definite highlight on this solid collection of skewed funk, conscious rapping and hypnotic world-music homages.

Originally Published