Perhaps sitting out the second and third quarter was not such a good idea. The line-up changed, you see, and I missed it. Spooky opened up his game with a remix album and the Illbient genre pacesetting wonder, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (on Asphodel). With this intro to his mind, Spooky appeared to be a most articulate and determined musician, a renaissance man for the hip hoppers, a new sort of floor general. But now we’ve got Riddim Warfare, and the point guard plays all positions, when he’s not coaching his players. Or perhaps his team make their own plays. It’s hard to tell, but Riddim Warfare achieves.
Many of the 21 cuts represent the familiar spaciousness of Spooky’s vision, his versions of sonic landscaping. But whereas drum and bass or tabla fit side by side within his music, so is rhyming introduced with equal force and viability; Kool Keith, Killah Priest… then guitar guests like Thurston Moore… Ben Neill plays his Mutantrumpet. Onward and upward, Spooky has the collaborators working full time, and the rhymes fit the beats sooo tight.
Few moments suggest that Coach Spooky was scratching his head wondering what to do next. Riddim Warfare is another fine exercise in exploring turntable possibilities, and freely and successfully goes well beyond.