Bullion is a UK producer who has taken J. Dilla's vaults a step further by working samples from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds into the music. It is not a mash up or a remix album, but a conceptual extension to his illustrious catalogue. Bullion does not attempt to place his green thumb on Dilla’s work, but extends his aesthetic into a posthumous tribute.
He’s clearly a student of the J. Dilla technique because his style does not get in the way of the previous works. He employs similar chopping techniques, toying with the harmonies and using the vocal snippets as instruments in the body of work.
It would be easy to get pissed about this record and the excessive fiddling and pillaging the Jay Dee catalogue has suddenly received. It would be easy to write this off as another Jay Dee band-wagoner, capitalizing on everyone suddenly wanting to appreciate a producer who flew under all our radars until his illness became public. But this is a fitting tribute to an influential figure. Even if Bullion only recently discovered Jay Dee, (I doubt that), there is no doubt that his inspiration has changed his life. He has paid attention to Dilla for the right reasons and it shows in his ability to take the genius a step further without stepping on a legend’s toes.
He does not forget what is informing this piece. He maintains a cohesion in style that is not even his own, but an influence, and makes it sound so effortless, as though our hero Dilla actually had the idea.
Crowning achievements are the marrying of “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” with Jay Dee in a mix I'd like to think both Brian Wilson and Jay Dee would approve of. It maintains its psychedelic lament, but earns a soulful bounce. Compared to trendsetting Grey Album from Dangermouse, this will probably not inspire copycats as it lacks that project's conceptual bombast.
It’s a bizarre ride on the Sloop Jay D.
Download: Pet Sounds: In the Key of Dee