Warning: This CD is dangerous. I almost drove off the interstate listening to DJ Kemit’s “Everlasting”. Yes, I would have joined my ancestors had I not regained control of myself. I was having entirely too much fun with the music to be driving a car. It all started with “You Don’t Know”, in which DJ Kemit features Lady Alma Horton. The instant the beat drops, there’s a serious mix of snare, kick, and keyboards/bass that compel you to dance. Alma means spirit in Spanish, and Ms Horton brings nothing but soul to her vocals. She sings, testifies, and dignifies what a good woman needs. This is just the first cut, but you know if a record is going to be weak if they can’t even get it going on the first track. No problem here.
Fans of the late, great Marvin Gaye will appreciate the cut “Digital Love”. The vocals and the way DJ Kemit hooks up the 80’s keyboards and drum sounds remind me of Mtume, and I was “programmed for love.” One must have skills to use synthesizers and classic sounds of the 70’s and 80’s and create just the right balance of looping, while still leaving plenty of room for the great vocalist Carl McIntosh to impress you with smooth lead vocals, ad libs, and overdubs just like the the legendary Gaye. Very cool. The recurring “Digital connection baby….in your heart, in your mind” captivates your mind and keeps it. You just can’t get it out of your head, and quite frankly, you really don’t want to.
There are solid music tracks like “Funky 8 Ball”, featuring keyboardist Frank McComb. Imaging Herbie Hancock on synthesizer (post Headhunters, but before “Rockit”), add some clavinet funk and hip hop piano loops with drums that just never stop bumpin’, and that gets you pretty close to just how tight this track is.
“Things Everlasting” is probably my favorite song on the album, though it was certainly hard to choose. A rolling Brazilian snare and Caribbean funk mesh with some steel pan to delight your auditory senses. The chord changes are ridiculously smooth, and the bass never relents the tightness of the pocket it lays down. The background male/female unison vocals are the perfect set up for Terrance Downs to bring impressive lead vocals, which he does very aptly. The flute hits and fender Rhodes are just icing on the cake. I’m not wearing a hat, but if I were, I’d take it off to DJ Kemit for being generous and leaving enough groove for remixes from other skilled producers out there.
The final cut, “Summer Night”, is a jazzy, pared down, taking care of business club track. DJ Kermit’s minimalist approach is clever because the sounds chosen layer up so well in his beat construct. True skill is not only measured by how much you use in a cut to make it work, but how little you really need if you have talent with your mix, and lots of imagination. Kick, hi hat, shaker, slap snare, rhodes, synth bass, chords, and even a cool little cowbell sound — they’re all here. DJ Kemit can rock it to the max while keeping it consistently fresh, and he does so with “Everlasting”. The album is a reminder that we’re living in the best of times. Not because we’re all making money hand over fist, but because you can find great music that should be on your radio, but if you have a little internet savvy and a lack of patience for all things commercialized, mundane, and overplayed, you get past “the system”, and find out about it right here. See you soon.