alt-J, 'Reduxer' – Review
by Zelia Bukhari
From a hit debut album, which won the 2012 British Mercury Prize, to their second album which went straight to number one in the UK, a lot was expected of alt-J in their third studio album Relaxer. An anticipated record since early 2017, Relaxer went on to doing fairly well, and from it blossomed the unique alternative and remixed version - Reduxer.
Reduxer is described as a ‘rap-heavy do-over’ of Relaxer. The statement definitely excited many fans of alt-J, who have acknowledged how open fans have become music-wise. alt-J are known to be inspired by rap, and have quoted Dr. Dre as one of their many inspirations; hence, it was high time they released their own atmospheric take on the genre. From Pusha T to GoldLink, Reduxer features some fantastic collaborators, merging the rock alt-J is known for with the lo-fi and urban feels of hip-hop. This homage album can be niche at times, with some arrangements being tough to digest at first, yet the distinctiveness of alt-J and the complexity within each song can be greatly applauded.
Highlights of the album would be ‘In Cold Blood (feat. Pusha T) – Twin Shadow Version’, as it picks up slowly but intensely with a rap verse, before fading into a classic alt-J melody. ‘Deadcrush (feat. Danny Brown) – Alchemist x Trooko Version’ also encompasses familiar alt-J vibes, but is completely played up with an intense rap beat and Danny Brown’s verses reminiscing of Cypress Hill, another risk-taking group of musicians.
The album is short and sweet, following the same methodology throughout, which showcases the clear focus of the band and the type of album they wanted to produce. Though alt-J is not a hip-hop band just yet, their creativity and bravery can certainly be appreciated.