Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cut Chemist - "Bunky's Pick" (LP Review)

"Bunky's Pick" is not really an LP, but a 2001 three song single (at 21+ minutes, perhaps it should be considered an EP) released on Stones Throw Records. It was very puzzling when I first got it many years ago: "Bunky's Pick" is by Cut Chemist, "6 Variations of In the Rain" is by Madlib, and "In the Rain" is by Billy Wooten. The reconstructions from Cut Chemist and Madlib were great (as you would expect) and the song by Billy Wooten was beautiful. But why did this single/EP exist? Why does Cut Chemist have primary billing? Who is Billy Wooten? I didn't understand how these three songs came to be on the same release.

I eventually learned this can be best thought of as a companion to the compilation LP "The Funky 16 Corners", also released on Stones Throw Records. In fact, "Bunky's Pick" is a bonus track on some versions of the LP. Cut Chemist remixed the highlights from the LP into a single 7:48 track. As Madlib's song title suggests, he focuses just on different interpretations of "In the Rain". Although I haven't seen a physical copy, apparently some versions of this single featured Madlib with primary billing. IIRC, this single was also my first introduction to Madlib.

To contrast with the Madlib version, the original version of "In the Rain" is also provided ("In the Rain" is also on "The Funky 16 Corners", although it originally appears on "The Wooden Glass Recorded Live"). Billy Wooten (the featured artist in the group "Wooden Glass") is a jazz vibraphonist and this song was my first introduction to him. Prior to hearing this, I would have been skeptical about "jazz vibraphone", but you can't deny the beauty of this song. I guess I'm a believer now.

Standout Tracks: Bunky's Pick, 6 Variations of In the Rain, In the Rain.

Skip 'em Tracks: none.

Final Score: 10/10

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