Karriem Riggins – Alone Together [Stones Throw Records]
Stones Throw Records presents the debut solo album from Karriem Riggins, featuring 34-tracks of instrumental hip-hop. Karriem Riggins is a jazz drummer and producer. He is currently musically involved with Diana Krall, played on Paul McCartney’s recent album, and has a long history playing on and producing hip hop alongside J Dilla, Madlib, Common and Slum Village. This title is similar to Madlib’s “Beat Konducta” series.
“Though you may not have heard of Karriem Riggins, the list of artists he’s associated with in includes some recognizable names. The Stones Throw drummer/producer has worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Common and tours with Diana Krall, a fellow mentee of the late jazz bassist Ray Brown, who, in turn, played alongside Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Oscar Peterson. Though his new album Alone Together is his first solo offering, it sounds like the work of a vet and is a grand addition to the ever-expanding canon of instrumental beat tapes. Because the producer is such a talented chameleon– evoking with the 34 tracks here a whole range of his fellows– the album ends up functioning as a sort of survey course: every piece, based on its distinct construction and influences, will lead the curious listener down a rabbit hole of wonderful sounds.
As a hip-hop instrumentalist, Riggins hews most closely to the Dilla format, taking miniaturized loops and samples and scrambling them together to come up with the eminently digestible sketches now immortalized as “donuts.” This approach frequently yields tracks that sound time-stamped by certain periods of Dilla’s progression, as if Riggins reached into his fellow Detroit native’s seemingly bottomless vault in order to gain inspiration for his own meanderings. “Round the Outside” could be a great, lost sketch from the Ruff Draft sessions and the 40 second dream “Orbitz” contains that encoded whispering that marked Donuts as a distinctly spiritual experience. “Double Trouble” evokes Dilla most strongly; its woodwind flourishes and tonal progressions may as well have been produced by Jay Dee’s ghost.” … more