Back in the early to mid 2000s, many musicians had great success by blending cool new beats with key loops, often from old blues or soul, to create new music. It started with hits such as History Repeating in 1998 (by Proppellerheads, using Shirley Bassey’s voice), then continued with St. Germain’s fabulous “Tourist” album in 2000, then guys like Moby, Parov Stellar, and France’s Wax Tailor who were half DJ’s half musician worked out great results with the same recipe.

 

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, but having lived most of his life in Philadelphia, Ramble Jon Krohn, A.K.A. RJD2 was one of them. In 2007, his album “The Third Hand”was one of the highlights of that year’s music, as far as I am concerned. His combination of awesome grooves, great rock guitar riffs, airy vocals, electronic elements and great loops generated a very interesting opus.

Almost ten years later, the music environment has changed. People went to minimalist emo folk à la Bon Iver, then to upbeat indie rock à la Foals while hip-hop merged even more with R’n’B. The DJs that survived elevated their work to higher grounds, as Champion worked with full orchestra, blending electric guitars and heavy beats, or Amon Tobin explored deeper industrial beat.

Soul is back, with artists like Charles Bradley, Lee Fields and Mavis Staples gaining a larger crowd even though they aren’t young nor hip. They are authentic, and sign their heart out. Maybe a counter-effect of all the hits made with the infamous autotune?

For “Dame Fortune”, RJD2, now aged 40, captured that feeling and worked with talented singers: soul man Son Little (on the ordinary We Come Alive), LA singer and Berklee College of Music graduate Jordan Brown (on the retro-flavored Peace of What) and North Carolina rapper Phonte Coleman (on the TV on the Radio-style Saboteur) all tip in with pretty good songs. Results are OK but never mind-blowing. Those rich black voices are of high quality but songs aren’t unforgettable, unfortunately.

 

As mentioned on RJD2’s Wikipedia page, “Dame Fortune” is the sixth studio album by RJD2. It was released on RJ’s Electrical Connections on March 25, 2016. Recorded in Philadelphia, it also features guest appearances from rapper Blueprint (with whom he had collaborated under the name Soul Position, releasing “8 Million Stories” in 2003) and fellow Columbus resident Josh Krajcik, runner-up in the first season of The X Factor USA in 2011.

Overall, “Dame Fortune” as an OK album, with pretty good moments, here and there.
rjd2 dame-fortune

RJD2
Dame Fortune
(Electrical Connections, 2016)

-Genre: electro vs soul
-Kind of in the same area as Danger Mouse, Moby, Bonobo

Buy the album on the artist’s Google Play page
Follow the artist via his Facebook page
Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.