Review by Daniel C. Warshaw
Deviating from their previous release, The Procussions deliver more soul-infused jazz jams than hip-hop on their 2004 import, Up All Night. The first two thirds of the album, in fact, feature no rapping with the exception of Mr. J on Mr. J Warm Up.
Up All Night seems to be the all Stro show, as he provides most of the musical background, layering fantastic drum parts with equally enjoyable Fender Rhodes. He also covers the production on four of the five hip-hop flavored tracks, and vocals on some songs – be it spoken word or rapping. The rap tracks generally sound pretty tight with decent verses – particularly evident on We are Here. What listeners may find most surprising about this release, however, is the superb recording quality. All the instruments are clear with little to no distortion, line noise, or interference. The first ten tracks, mixed by The Sound Providers’ Jason Skills, are so clean, in fact, they sound like they’re playing in the next room.
Understanding that this album was created over an eight-hour period doesn’t make up for all of its missteps, though. The spoken word parts of The Cereal Chronicles, B Boy Alarm Clock and other tracks are pretty cheesy, distracting listeners from music that’s enjoyable on its own. While the verses on the last third of the album are pretty cool, the production isn’t as consistent, varying from We are Here’s energetic beat to the almost Casio-keyboard-demo sound of the Introducing...(What’s Your Name?) remix. Likely the most disappointing aspect of this album is its disjointedness. Had the fellas decided to make a complete disc of soul-jam tracks, this would have been a solid release. Instead they put together seemingly everything they worked on in those short eight hours.
Ultimately, the purchasing of this album will come down to what kind of fan reads this review. Those who want every Procussions release from 12” singles to imports like this CD will be happy to add this to a collection. The rest are likely to be disappointed by a recording that delivers only half-way.