By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Denton hip-hop producer Juicy the Emissary's most recent full-length album, Cultural Refugee, acts as a sonic celebration, giving props to numerous musicians, local and national, by incorporating a hodgepodge of samples throughout. Cultural Refugee kicks off with what sounds like helium-laced vocals singing, "I thought a dream lasted forever, lasted forever ..." The track samples "Morning Song" by Denton's The Clang Association, stammering beats intertwining with chopped-up electric organ, and it ends with "... often I dream about records that don't exist."
That sort of explains Juicy's approach to sampling and crate-digging the obscure. He describes himself as an "aural architect," and the instrumental album definitely feels constructed with those bits and pieces of vinyl ephemera as its foundation. "All Id" picks off the vibraphone and guitar from the beginning of Bob Marley's "Send Me That Love" and vocal harmonies of "Michelle" by The Singers Unlimited, which ends with another quote about records. The vocal samples at the end of each song act as auditory glue, bookends holding the loop-heavy tracks together, which vary in texture but not much in tone. For all its architectural design, Cultural Refugee isn't particularly compelling as a whole — the tracks tend to bleed into each other, with few tempo changes — but it makes up for its lack of cohesion with plenty of soul.
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