DJ Rap, Learning Curve

A great big problem with the world of techno/drum and bass/electronica is that if you’re not making the newest sound and breaking all sorts of new ground, you’re incredibly stale. Witness Madonna’s electronica album. Savvy enough for VH1, but to any educated listener of the genre, extremely dull.

Enter dj rap, a drum and bass dj from London. Her debut album learning curve is lauded as ‘outstanding breakbeat pop’ by the NME (so it says on the sticker on my copy). Is it?

Accomplished as the music is, there is relatively little new ground covered here. Rap’s vocals stand out from the electronica crowd because 1) she isn’t doing a dance diva routine over her trip-hoppy beats and 2) there isn’t any rapping. Most electronica outfits with vocals turn me off instantly because their vocalist interprets his job as ‘stand out from the music.’

When Rap succeeds as on ‘bad girl,’ ‘good to be alive,’ and ‘changes’ the music is lush and dense, full of great big beats, nice strings and pleasant vocals. In a world of such luminaries as Talvin Singh and Tom Jenkins, it’s tough to shine in drum and bass. DJ Rap makes an auspiscious debut. Perhaps her next release will favour the dense big beats and strings over the laid-back trip hop of much of learning curve.