Dday One: Heavy Migration

Dday One's 2006 opus Loop Extensions (Needlework) impressed mightily so it's wonderful to hear him now surface on Content (he also recently appeared on the excellent Signal Path compilation). Heavy Migration comes packaged in a beautiful double-vinyl format which is wholly befitting the sensibility in play. This is sample-based instrumental hip-hop the way we like it: fifty minutes of material that oozes serious boom-bap but refrains from the kind of construction overkill that ends in claustrophobia and cacophony—using no more gear than a turntable and sampler, Dday never loses touch with musicality, in other words. The album title refers to the concept of migration of sound from one medium and location to another and how those sounds retain vestiges of their origins (cultural identifiers, original session ambiance) as they're displaced from one context to another. As Dday's preferred samples are acoustic in nature (jazz piano, acoustic bass, sax, trumpet, electric and acoustic guitar, and drums predominate augmented by an occasional voice sample and exotic instrument), the material exudes classic crate-digging character once he's through meticulously re-assembling the bits into thunderously swinging tracks. The collection opens strongly with a saxophone wailing over slippery head-nod in “Terminal 86 / Making the Transition” before moving on to “Omega Point” and what sounds like Miles' electric trumpet bleating over the heavy drum attack. In “Litany#4,” a soprano sax mournfully sighs while a slinky groove slips and slides through “One Giant Step.” An album note indicates that the producer regards the “perfect beat” as a life-long objective worthy of reverence and the mighty drum punch that powers “Dying Heart” and “Closing In,” among others, testifies to his commitment to the ideal.

June 2008