By: Eric G.
Dynamic Syncopation is The Herbaliser’s producer Jonny Cuba and UK DJ The Loop Professor equipped with a vast record collection, a predilection for sophisticated, jazzy grooves and potent hip-hop stylings. The instrumentation fuses electronics along with a pastiche of organic beats, which are low and slow, but they create a languid and consistent pace that the band adheres to throughout the record. Dynamism is a relaxing record because the samples are subtle and seamless, but it’s all tightly edited. This is the duo’s debut full-length after releasing two twelve inches and a compilation track for Ninja Tune over the past two years. The duo mainly gets off on the instrumental funk, but they enlist a few guests for some well-placed rapping, including Atlanta’s Mass Influence, Brooklyn’s Yeshua Da Poed, and Big Dada recording artist, Juice Aleem.
Dynamism has a dark trip-hoppy sound because of the band’s constant use of slow, broken beats and its film noirish backdrop. Don’t get the wrong idea- this doesn’t sound anything like Portishead. Dynamic Syncopation has too much funk and R&B influence for that strain of trip-hop; this record has more in common with the likes of the Dream Warriors or early A Tribe Called Quest. The title track features a tight seventies funk bass line with old school scratching and a disco freak out wah-wah guitar. The haunting keyboard line prevents it from sounding too much like party music. Each track segues so smoothly and retains an air of sophistication so rarely achieved when hip-hop is in the mix. “Ground Zero” balances Mass Connection’s aggressive rhymes with another esoteric faux-string section while “The Plan” has a very refined musical feel while Juice Aleem offers a slick spoken word rap.
This is not a mainstream hip-hop record; it’s too smart for that. Dynamic Syncopation may wear its influences proudly on its sleeve, but it weaves them together so well that you can’t help but soak up the stylish jazz funk and relish in its experimentation.