Review: Jel’s Greenball 3.5

Jel: Greenball 3.5Jel: Greenball 3.5 (Fieldwerk, 4/17/12)

“Ignition Key”

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Knowing nothing about his sleeping patterns, Just looking at his discography, one would get the sense that producer / rapper Jel – born Jeffrey Logan — lives and breathes on beats alone; that for him, rest is but an afterthought. Ever since the 1997 formation of hip-hop duo Themselves, in which he appeared alongside Adam “Doseone” Drucker, the ever-prolific artist has been putting out multiple releases every year both under his own name and with other projects such as Subtle and 13 & God. Oh, and he co-founded LA-based indie hip-hop label Anticon. No big deal.

Now Jel returns with his eighth solo effort — the fourth in his Greenball series — Greenball 3.5. Created again with an ’80s SP-1200, a drum machine / sampler combo, the album is given an old-school, beat-driven feel, adhering to a less-is-more philosophy by giving weight to negative space. Jel’s signature boom-bap works its way into each track, centering the instrumental works on his hand-performed beats, and songs like the pulsing, scratching “Montro” and the vibrating, synth-driven “Ignition Key” are injected with the raw hip-hop production that makes 3.5 unmistakably Jel.