REVIEW | Radius- Time Travel Is Real (A Prelude to Japan) (album)

With recent trips across the U.S. behind him, and an excursion to Japan shining on the horizon, producer/D.J. Radius decided to release a brand new project to celebrate his traveling man lifestyle. On Time Travel Is Real (A Prelude To Japan), Radius has put together an album that seems to draw as heavily from spiritual jazz and electronic music influences as it does from hip-hop. No track exemplifies this melding of sound better than the album standout "Melanin Starburst". Broken beat rhythms blend in time with cosmic horns and synthesizers to cook up a sound that would most likely be celebrated by jazz experimenters like Joe Zawinul and Marc Moulin if either were still here to enjoy it. Clocking in at a little over 5 minutes, "Melanin Starburst" is an expanding and druggy affair that's best enjoyed with some really good speakers (or a really nice pair of headphones). Listening to entire sections of sound rise and then melt away becomes an almost visual experience in the right setting. On another single entitled "One For Ferguson (Healing Factor)Radius channels the atmospheric and somewhat stark tone that many Japanese beatmakers are known for. The mood of the track is more acid jazz than straight-up-and-down hip hop, but Radius keeps things raw by making use of crunchy 12-bit drums, somber instruments, and cutting commentary via a soundbyte from the late great Richard Pryor.  And while the previously mentioned songs may cast Time Travel Is Real (A Prelude To Japan) in a stern light, Radius offsets the album's weightier jazz moments by injecting brighter elements that feel inspirational. On the tracks "Bullet Trains Will Leave Me Broke" and "Time Traveling 101 (Oahu to Osaka)" Radius' arrangements fell open and spontaneous, as if they were recorded in one-take by 3 or 4 musicians just vibin' in the studio. And on the album's closer, a funky electro number entitled "All Respects To Sonotheque"Radius trades in sweeping 70's jazz for top heavy 80's analog synthesizers and drum kits and emerges with a upbeat instrumental that seems to end the LP on a "to be continued..." note. All in all Time Travel Is Real (A Prelude To Japan) is a great work in experimental music and showcases the sort of unrestricted musical freedom that makes independent music so engaging. Great work Radius, and safe travels.


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