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Josh One - Narrow Path Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 November 2004

Josh One

Narrow Path
format: DualDisc
label: Myutopia Records
release year: 2005
performance: 7
sound 8
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

Image Josh One is the producer and arranger of this diverse musical collection. And since he is also a DJ, Narrow Path is naturally a dance music project. But what puts him a few hot steps ahead of the dance crowd is how he incorporates a wide variety of instruments into his mixes, and the way he matches the right vocalists to his songs. This is just as much listening music as it is dance music.

Sometimes the song titles match the sounds perfectly, as with “After Hours.” It just instantly puts you into a late night, jazz club sort of mood. The track incorporates a scat vocal, solo trumpet work, upright bass and swinging, snare-centered drumming. The lyric, sung by Mikah9, details many of the sights and sounds one normally experiences whenever night’s end becomes morning’s beginning. “Midnight Samba,” however, is not nearly as Latin as its song title implies. Instead, Kandace Lindsey gives it a Chaka Khan-worthy, funk-soul vocal, and Patrick Bailey colors its instrumental track with grooving, Talking Heads-ish guitar chords. Tim Orindgreff contributes significant flute flourishes to the mix.

The mood here is particularly urban in many places, such as with the fast, angry rap from Rashaan Ahmad that drives “Less Traveled.” But there are also more than enough variations on the R&B form to keep things intriguing. “Miss Me,” for instance, with Dena Deadly’s choked soul vocal on top of soulful organ, hearkens back to classic ‘60s soul music. And the acoustic guitar that introduces “Narrow Path” could easily pass for a Dave Matthews jam band intro.

This DVD portion of this dual disc includes photographic images for each track. And while these shots are colorful accompaniments, it’s hard not to watch them without also expecting one of those Saturday Night Live “Deep Thoughts” faux-greeting card bits to be written out over the visuals. But maybe that’s just my problem. There is also a short video, where the viewer can watch Josh One in action.

Narrow Path is a bit of a misnomer title, since Josh One clears a fairly wide path here. He explores an extended palate of musical influences. And because Josh One is as concerned with musical values as he is with beats-per-minute, it turns this recording into a true treat.

The sound of this disc is excellent. Its various elements – whether electronic or natural – mesh together unobtrusively and compatibly. It’s also easy for the listener to focus on the CD’s diverse instruments, and hear each of them distinctly and clearly.

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