Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Apr 1st 2010 11:30AM by Lonny Knapp
"Good or bad I don't want to know about it," he tells Spinner.
RJD2, a.k.a Ramble John Krohn, identifies himself as a recording artist and has said he'd "rather look back on a varied catalog than one of multiple attempts at the same vibe, with varying degrees of success."
"I hold groups with diverse catalogues in the highest esteem. Led Zeppelin, Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest evolved with each album, and that's the world I came up in."
You can't accuse RJD2 of phoning it in -- his 2002 debut, 'Deadringer,' was hailed as a tour de force in the world of sample-based instrumental hip-hop. But even then he recognized the limitations of the genre.
"I remember completing my first album and having this sense of terror. I realized that the only means I had to make a recording was to use samples. I knew that if I wasn't finding good source material, I was screwed," he says.
'Since We Last Spoke,' his sophomore release, relied less on samples and turntable scratches and featured RJ's first tentative attempts at singing.
While the album hinted at a shift away from sample-based compositions, his third album was a complete departure. Released in 2007, 'The Third Hand' is an impressive, if sometimes over-reaching attempt at a Brian Wilson-style solo record.
"It wasn't that I wanted to reinvent myself. I just didn't want to be stuck in a scenario where I was doing the same thing over and over again."
Nevertheless, he stuck his neck out, and while some applauded his foray into singer-songwriter territory, others cried Judas. Purists cringed and critics panned 'The Third Hand,' accusing RJD2 of losing the plot. So after the album dropped, he completely shut out the press.
'The Third Hand' came out -- I read three reviews and two were not favourable. It felt like riding this feedback rollercoaster -- it wasn't pleasant and it wasn't making me a happier person, so I just put it all down."
'The Colossus,' his latest record and first on his own label, RJ's Electrical Connections, reveals an artist comfortable in his own skin. The album comes off as a nod to his past without losing sight of the future. While he steps out from behind the decks on compositions such as the 'The Glow,' on numbers like 'Let There Be Horns' he revisits his sample-based roots.
"I was not trying to make songs that sound like 'Deadringer,' but I wanted to take 'modern me' and inhabit 2002 for a second. I have much better perspective now," he says.
'The Colossus' marks a return to form and critics have thus far been kind. Still, RJD2 is oblivious to these reviews.
"I'll be in the van with the band and the guys will pick up the paper and say, 'This guy wrote a really great piece on you.' But I can't read that either," he says. " If you're invested in the good reviews, then you have to be invested in the other."