Root 70 Lounge is a Japanese Hip-Hip, Nu-Jazz and Lounge label that I stumbled up by luck. I caught an eyeful of that vivid e-flier and the search was on. Within a few minutes I found that they have a new release on the horizon set to drop on February 10th in Japan by a French producer by the name of J-Zen.
J-Zen isn’t making music I haven’t heard before but he falls so gracefully into the canon along with other soulful sampling greats like Madlib and Dilla but he fits into the new school wonderboy category with my favorites Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing who compose original beats with thoughtfulness.
His album “BREAKfast” was released on French label Dooinitmusic last year. It’s a mid-paced affair with lots of snares and wavering melodies that play through seamlessly. Each track ending tacks onto the beginning of the next, making it an album that begs to be listened to in it’s entirety because it’s obvious it was made in that way.
The first track, “Wake Up Call”, begins quite appropriately with a blaring alarm clock followed by a lazy, wavering chime melody reminiscent of a baby-mobile. It’s a sort of lullabye to wake up to. The album listens like a mediation. There’s a method to his madness that makes “BREAKfast” sound like a 4 a.m. creation, a breakfast right at dawn not around 1:30 when you roll out of bed just in time for Divorce Court.
My favorite track on the album is “Moka.” It has that crackling vinyl sound, that fuzzed-out crisp kind of percussion and a really warm, thick melody. It sounds like all it’s missing is Q-Tip. “Muffin” is also sweet with a slightly off-tempo melody tinkering throughout the track.
I highly recommend this album for people that go on bike rides, long public transportation commutes or staring off into space while listening to something your brain doesn’t have to dissect to appreciate it’s tiny details.