Wednesday, May 15, 2013

JVC Force: 6 Tracks Back From the Vaults

Remember last year when Chopped Herring released an EP of unreleased JVC Force material, and we all kinda knew a second volume was bound to follow? Well, here it is! Woot! Let's jump right in.

The opening two songs, I have to say, are actually a little disappointing. They're decent, but the production really doesn't have that distinct JVC sound at all. They just sound like typical, basic 90's. As such, they're not bad, but they're not the kind of material you'd lay down the cost of a limited release like this for.

Fortunately, the B-side more than makes up for things. "Top Celebrity" has a really cool, smooth production style mixed with a little (or a lot, even) of Chubb Rock's "Treat 'Em Right" instrumental, and of course the Krs vocal sample of the title. B-Luv flexes his ragga style a bit on here, but most of it's pure, American hip-hop, and it sounds great.

Reggae and classic hip-hop blend even more on "Sly As a Fox" with Red Fox guesting on a fresh "Funky Sensation"-based track groove. A lot of songs have sampled that song, of course, but this one is chopped exactly the same way as Father MC's "One Nite Stand," even down to the vocal samples on the loop. But instead of the "Microphone Fiend" element from that record, this one has a funky keyboard horn riff. It all adds up to a cool, freestyle feel as the guys (Curt Cazal even gets on the mic for this one) just pass the mic over a perfect head nodder. And Red Fox is given free reign to just go nuts at the end of the song with a never0-ending segment, a la Canibus on "Beasts From the East," except reggae.

It doesn't sound like all three guys were fully involved with all the new songs (B Luv says "but now it's two instead of three" on "Top Celebrity"), which is a little disappointing, AJ's voice definitely would've definitely been a welcome addition; but these B-side cuts are still fully satisfying JVC Force tracks for sure

And none of those four 90's tracks are are even the best part of this EP, anyway. First of all, there's also an instrumental version of "A Musical Sample," which was one of the strongest songs on Force Field. But since it was only released as an album track, we never had an instrumental version... until now. But that's just like a little bonus treat. The real highlight of this EP is the Original Demo version of one of their oldest songs, "Nu Skool" (the original B-side to their debut 12", "Strong Island"). The version we've all known for years is very stripped down. It works, because of the guys' flows and ill-sounding voices completely sell it. But this version is definitely what you'd call "more musical" with, most notably, a super funky bass sound that doesn't just make this a cool alternative. For my money, this version's actually better, a real awesome find.

Chopped Herring's pressed up 300 of The 1987-1993 Unreleased EP, with 75 copies on a gold and clear mixed vinyl, 75 on black and gold [pictured], and the rest on classic black. And of course, it comes in a sticker cover. Despite the limited involvement of AJ and the underwhelming A-side, make no mistake, this is another essential JVC Force release, I'm very pleased to have it and I'm more than ready for a volume three!

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