Fat Jon Lightweight Heavy (Exceptional Records)
Lightweight Heavy has been out for a month or two now, but I have just got around to listening to it properly. And it is dope indeed. Fat Jon has been one of my fave producers for a while – across the board I think he is one of the most consistent. Go check his work with Five Deez, 3582 and his solo material for evidence. In fact the entire catalog of Fat Jon work in all his guises is more than worth your time to hunt down.
This release appropriately finds a home on England’s Exceptional Records that also hosts forward thinking artists such as Blu Mar Ten, John Beltran, Ken Ishii and others. Lightweight Heavy puts a new twist on the instrumental hip hop tradition, drawing on electronic influences so that his soundscapes are now a few BPMs away from being ‘downtempo’ or ‘chillout’. Whatever you want to call it, Lightweight Heavy should more than expand upon his hip-hop fanbase and find new, multi-genre-ed ears to convert.
Fat Jon has a knack for blending solid beats with strong melodies and slightly left of center sound effects, creating eminently listenable and head-nodding tracks. His appeal lies in his ability to be intelligent without being abstract, and experimental without being pretentious. Fat Jon can work magic by combining a fat bottom end, complete with a rounded bassline and cascading cymbals, with ethereal noodlings, such as those found on “Dreamers”. He can create depths of emotion with simple piano melodies, such as on “Day” and “Beyond Love”. Overall he paints everything with warm, soulful tones which is quite an achievement on a purely instrumental (barring the occasional vocal sample), and electronically produced album. A treat to listen to, go pick this up, and anything else of his you can lay your hands on.