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Record Review


Emerging as a member of early '90s bohemian hip-boppers Digable Planets, as well as a producer/label owner with Josh Wink, Philadelphia's King Britt has since released original material on labels including Sony/Ovum, Om and Rope A Dope. In his incarnations as Sylk130 and Scuba, Britt arranged soul-steeped funk and aqueous future jazz-dipped deep house. But it wasn't until agreeing to follow Jaydee, Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna and more in British label BBE's exemplary "Beat Generation" series that Britt released a collection that sets his personal stamp on hip-hop: the high-concept Adventures in Lo-Fi.

Built for the most part on laptop, Adventures in Lo-Fi's 22 beds marry the rich with the raw, using contributions from some of underground hip-hop's most soulful, distinctive voices, many hailing from Britt's native Philadelphia. On the surface, vocalists -- Rich Medina as narrator; MCs including Bahamadia, Capitol A, Quasimoto, Dice Raw, Cherrywine (Digable's Butterfly), Grand; singers including Ivana Santilli, Lady Alma -- contribute facets to the lyrical concept, which is one of alien-ation and re-identification through street culture inspired by John Sayles' film Brother From Another Planet.

Under the flow, however, the tracks are no less fluid. Britt imbues all with the same dusky/dusty groove and abstract shard shudders of his unabashedly eclectic DJ sets. Keyboard textures make a soft lap for boom-bap. Britt's Adventures are far from lo-fi and always highest quality.

King Britt spins at MJQ Concourse Fri., May 23.

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