DJ FOOD – The Search Engine

DJ FOOD – The Search Engine
Ninja Tune: 2012

How many obscure movies, music, and other assorted random non-sense must someone listen to/experience in order to find that perfect sample? Like where did that perfect disembodied voice come from (because it obviously isn’t from Degrassi or I-Carly or The Wizards of Waverly Place?) And, how does that person know when the sample/snippet/clip/bit/whatever is just right?

Where do you find those samples? Do you go to a flea market, dumpster dive, or some sort of swap meet? With all of these questions swirling around my head (along with many others that it is pretty fruitless to list/explain), I almost feel unqualified to review something as expansive and exhaustive as The Search Engine. With an album that is 11 years in the making, did it take that long to find inspiration and all the little perfect snippets/samples? The amount of studying, or in this case mining, truly boggles the mind. DJ Food is a student, a teacher, and a master. (The questions just keep coming.)

“I like it, because it has no meaning.” We are approached with this sentiment on the album opener, but once the whole experience is over, we know the opposite to be true. Everything is meaningful. Simply entitled The Search Engine, DJ Food (also known as Strictly Kev) lets loose in all sorts of wild and crazy ways in his new album. Calling this album hip-hop (or any other simple genre) would be a gross injustice. It plays more like a space funk opera, a soundtrack or score to a movie that has yet to be filmed. The original idea behind DJ Food was to make music that could be sampled by other producers. It was always intended to be very sample-heavy and it lends itself to a serious sense of nostalgia. It could be a case of ’90s fever and that you had to be there to appreciate it, but I don’t think this is the case at all. The strength and excitement of the music speaks for itself. The music is just so damn infectious and funky.

You can’t single out one song from the other. (Honestly, I can’t name a single song on the album. Nothing jumps out and that is probably the way Kev would want it.) This isn’t an album in the radio-sense. It might be split up into 12 different tracks, but it is impossible to single out one.  It’s fruitless and pointless. When you listen to this album, you have to pull out those big, sturdy studio headphones and you have to let the music wash over you. As a DJ, I am sure Food would want you to experience it like that. Or better yet, you can close your eyes, realizing that this is bigger than music. It’s a fully cinematic event.  Every time a voice speaks on this album you have to take notice. It’s almost like every single snippet or bit of dialogue is a new lens through which to view the work as a whole.

“Have you ever been completely out of this world?” That is the key question one of those well-placed disembodied voices asks toward the end of the hour-long journey. So, just let the music transport you and let that sink in.

4.5 out of 5

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  1. Sweet review, my man. Glad to see I’m not the only one who appreciated this album. Since you liked it, I guarantee you’ll also like Queen of the Wave by Pepe Deluxé. Strictly Kev is a big fan.

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