Cut Chemist, formerly one of the DJ's of the now defunct hip-hop group Jurassic 5, strikes out on his own with his solo album The Audience's Listening. This album forgoes genre limitations and goes for a fun, upbeat sound. Whether you're a fan of hip-hop or not, you'll find something to like here.
The first couple of songs feature clever combinations of beats and various audio clips. “Motivational Speaker” opens the album. There are a dizzying array of cuts and changes to be found and many are used in a humorous way. For example, there's a sample that features a man saying “Come along little doggies!” and it's followed by, well, the sound of dogs barking. The cuts and scratches get even wilder on “(My 1st) Big Break,” the first real song on the album. Elements come and go when you least expect it and you never know what you'll hear next.
Even though the first couple of tracks are great fun, Cut Chemist isn't content with just doing songs in that same vein. Recorded in Brazil, “The Garden” floats on some great drums and the sounds of the berimbou. It's a great song and even though it's the album's longest song clocking in at over six minutes long, it goes by far too quickly. “Metrorail Thru Space” takes a seemingly cheesy vocal sample and morphs it into a great dance track. By the time the sample completely disappears about halfway through the song, you'll be too caught up in the beat to care. “2266 Cambridge” is nice and laidback while album closer “The Audience Is Listening Theme Song” is a very upbeat, rock-influenced track.
“What's The Altitude” and “Storm” are the only “real” hip-hop tracks on the album and they're pretty good as well. Hymnal appears on “What's The Altitude” and talks about a hookup. Edan and Mr. Lif show up on “Storm,” which is old-school in feel, complete with a sample from Eric B. and Rakim's classic “Paid In Full.”
The Audience's Listening is a really good album, one that is just enjoyable to listen to. There isn't really much to fault with it except for maybe “Spat,” a song that tries to do what Kid Koala's “Fender Bender” does better. Apart from that, this is the perfect album to listen to when you don't want to listen to something intense or overly serious. I can't wait to hear more from Cut Chemist in the future.