Madlib, Shades of Blue
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Excerpt from Pitchfork
Listening to Madlib's music, I'm reminded of the Black radical maestros responsible for some of the outermost-limits music-making of the past half-century: Sun Ra, George Clinton, Lee "Scratch" Perry – it's an elite club, but by no means an exclusive one. What sets these artists apart from their contemporaries and/or imitators is the fact that their effortless, genuine material occupyies the fringes of acceptable musicality without ever sounding pretentious; they translate their visions direct to tape and send them out into the world to fend for themselves.
Appropriately enough, Madlib's multiple personality disorder creates the "shades of blue" the title refers to. On one hand, he stars as himself, semi-dutifully remixing Blue Note classics by Gene Harris & The Three Sounds, Donald Byrd, Ronnie Foster and Bobby Hutcherson into outsider works of downtempo and instrumental hip-hop art.