Make no mistake: Journey with the Heavy is a difficult collection of tunes, but it's absolutely not a self-indulgent or egotistical one. Chalk it up in large part to Dro Carey making these knots of sound incredibly easy on the ears. For a producer who hasn't yet celebrated his 20th birthday, Hector is impressively dexterous at the controls, from the precision-calibrated drumming of "Talk Smak" and "Motorvibe" to the deliciously Drexcyen bass buzz that infiltrates nearly every track. And while you may not have matched those drapes with that wallpaper, so to speak, you sense that Hector absolutely knows what he's doing. "Journey with the Heavy" comes tantalizingly close to consonance—the vast majority of its elements evoke myriad Moodymann B-sides—but off-key zaps rock the whole thing into seasickness. And on "Tarred Adonis," where Hector always feels a half-step away from a standard piano melody, quiet cymbal rolls signal that yes, you are indeed hearing the notes as they're intended.
What you may find most surprising about Journey with the Heavy, though, is that despite its dejectedness and willingness to totally throw us off, it never pushes you away; instead, it feels like a shared experience—a window into a rich but deeply ambivalent worldview. (Juxtapose this with Zomby, whose full-length Dedication felt similarly personal but kept you at arm's length.) I wouldn't exactly call the record warm or inviting, but it's certainly honest, and Dro Carey puts it all on the table for you, whatever it ultimately is.