Smoking blunts to the face would not make Jordan Pedersen motivated.
My favorite instrumentals tend to be the most anxious ones. Clams Casino does bombast exquisitely on “Motivation,” but it’s not Michael Bay, slow-motion bank robbery music. It’s the minute before in the bathroom, with the thief pulling off his balaclava to vomit in the sink. Madlib goes “Thuggin,” but that delicate curlicue of a guitar figure is laced with the dread of getting locked up forever. The glissando on “Ride Around Shining” resonates for so long that you do get nauseous.
San Francisco producer Phedee probably gets very paranoid when he’s high.
The beats on the I B Chillin Duu, Phedee’s debut instrumental album, evoke not just the spark of the joint but also the fear that whenever the doorbell rings, it’s the cops. “Bluuu” is a gentle keyboard lick chopped with such rickety drums that any sense of calm turns immediately to anxiety. “Gon Jig To It” pulls the same trick Havoc did on “Shook Ones Pt. II,” turning a single sample – or what sounds like it anyway – into three different queasy chords. “Sumo_Revive” is wind chimes outside a haunted house.
I B Chillin Duu is consistent, perhaps too much so. Phedee could use some of Burn One’s instrumentally polyglot impulse, or Madlib’s jarring sense of fun.
Overall, though, I B Chillin Duu is a strong first effort. And if anybody’s likely to pull Phedee out of his comfort zone, it’s his fellow freaks at his record label Dome of Doom. The LA collective puts out whatever feels good: Microphones-esque indie pop, grimy garage rock, found sound. Nothing to be nervous about there.
Phedee’s I B Chillin Duu is out January 30th on Dome of Doom. Dome of Doom’s whole back catalogue is available on iTunes the same day via Alpha Pup.