RJ's gone for a live sounding theme for this album and this can be clearly heard on tunes like Since We Last Spoke combining guitar and keyboard riffs with melancholic vocal samples and Exotic Talk on a much harder rock tip with RJ pulling out the rocky drum breaks, featuring plenty of drum fills and crashing cymbals.
Sitting at 2 and a half minutes is the latin influenced 1976 featuring latin jazz style horn arrangements, vocal samples and turntable rewinds and hip hop beats. RJ takes a trip back to classic 60's music on Making Days Longer and if I'm reading the credits correctly, RJ handles the vocals on this laidback piece plodding slowly along with keyboard melodies providing a loungey atmosphere.
The vocals on To All Of You evoke flashbacks to jazz and blues singers of the post-war period but with beats that sit around downtempo funk jazz fusion with an improv guitar solo in the middle, before RJ brings the hip hop back to the album which he is known for with a scratch routine cutting up some "Play That Beat" samples towards the end. Clean Living shows off RJ's funky 80's R&B side - funky bass guitar licks, sleazy wah-wah guitars and a smooth vocal sample laced on top.
"Wait a minute, RJ forgot his introduction" and decided to put it towards the end, going back to his sampladelic hip hop roots cutting up 80's funk and disco while scratching up hip hop samples before revisiting the 80's pop-rock theme heard at the beginning on Through The Walls.
Eclecticism has become a big thing for hip hop producers nowadays - instead of rummaging around trying to find used beats (hip hop, funk or jazz), some try to take it a step further by piecing together bits of hard to find records, rare grooves combined with hip hop production methods. What I found from listening to this album was that I made constant comparisons to RJ's earlier album and also DJ Shadow's albums (especially Shadow's Private Press). A few misses here and there but overall a great album that should win RJ a new legion of fans.