Album Review by EDF
Ever wondered what it would be like to take a trip through life, encompassing sounds and emotions that are not too alien from our own lives? It would seem that this release from DJ 4am is a labour of love and seemingly captures his view “of the strangest, most ridiculed and artistically stifling cities in the known universe Fresno, California”. 4am is Jason Patrick Chavez who best describes himself has a ‘vinyl whore’. Growing up listening to Motown and eventually other genres of music, 4am got into hip hop around 1986 and started composing in a trip hop style long before trip hop was popular.
Opening with a funny live intro by Arthur Black, we descend into a world of chilled out beats and samples. You never know what to expect on this album and it should come as no surprise to learn that it took five different mixes until Chavez was happy with the end product. You can look forward to odd bits of recorded dialogue such as a visit to the doctors and other such strangeness. 4am goes so far to even remix a track by a local group SORRY WRONG # and on another track features Devoya Mayo reciting a poem on the sensual THIS GIRL. THE WHOLE TOWN’S SLEEPING captures the mood of what the sleeping world is like at 4am. After this, things get a bit weird with THE ROOM as 4am expresses his thoughts about how families should support each other and even mentions about his stepfather’s illness. Strange indeed.
The rest of the album at times becomes more ambient than trip hop. This is not such bad thing but it would test listeners who are not familiar with trip hop. There is a certain charm here that will encourage people to go back and listen to this album over and over again. If you cannot raise a smile when listening to AFTERTHOUGHTS or be impressed by the epic SPEED LIMIT NIGHTFALL VERSION, then questions will be asked.