Dday One: Gathered Between
The Content Label

Gathered Between is Udeze Ukwuoma's latest collection of new Dday One material, or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a new collection of old material—some clarification is obviously needed. To say that his fifth studio album in ten years came about in circuitous manner hardly captures it: the tracks were originally laid down after 2008's Heavy Migration, the Los Angeles-based producer's second album, but a hard drive failure intervened, leaving him with only a handful of tracks that subsequently appeared on rare and currently out-of-print compilations. In early 2015, he listened to a rough demo of the intended album and, inspired by what he heard, decided to reconstruct the original using memory as his only guide.

Assembled from hundreds of dusty samples exhumed from Ukwuoma's archives, Gathered Between presents ten tracks of classic instrumental hip-hop that lodge themselves solidly into the Dday One universe. Equipped with classic samplers and other tools, Ukwuoma recreated the forty-one-minute collection using the lazer-focused sensibility of an audio scientist.

“One Another” kicks the recording into gear with a booming acoustic bass-and-beats groove, the material immediately evidencing his penchant for fusing classic hip-hop, psychedelia, and jazz swing. Vinyl crackle, acoustic drum fills, voice samples, violins, and piano licks all work their way into the track's trippy framework, every element arranged in accordance with the producer's well-developed grasp of track architecture. Each of the tracks presents variations on the Dday theme, be it the delectably loping gait of “Years Ago” or the horn-driven headnod of “Give and Take.” No track roars with as much swing as “Out of the Shadows,” a five-minute throwdown whose considerable punch is augmented by the bleat of an exotic woodwind, and as witnessed during the brief sketch “Alchemy Loop,” it's striking that even the smallest snippet of a muted Miles can still be identified as the trumpeter.

Long-time listeners of Dday's music will cotton to Gathered Between with no trouble whatsoever, given how perfectly it embodies the producer's distinctive instrumental hip-hop aesthetic. It's somehow fitting that, the issue of the unfortunate hard drive collapse aside, this esteemed crate-digger should have had to dig into his own memory bank to bring this lost project back to life.

April 2016