When he emerged in 2002 with his debut LP Deadringer, Philadelphia-based RJD2 (born Ramble John Krohn) was pegged as the next DJ Shadow for his beat-making and crate-digging prowess; his love of classic soul, funk, and hip-hop; and his forward-thinking reliance on atmospheric, cinematic textures. As his career progressed, however, he diverged from the Shadow path, issuing a damn-near singer-songwritery album (2007's The Third Hand) that prominently featured his own vocals and favored live instrumentation over samples. Although it was probably the least-acclaimed album of his career, it certainly proved that RJ was his own man. Now the man behind the Mad Men theme is back with the fantastic The Colossus, a sort of "career overview" that brings together live instruments and samples and revisits his early breakbeat style while delving into bright psych-pop and dark hip-hop, too. Based on the reviews and online commentary it's garnered, the album seems to have wooed back much of his flock. At this week's show, RJ will have a full band with him to bring it all to life.
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