Karriem Riggins: Alone Together – album review

Karriem Riggins: Alone Together (Stones Throw)
Out: Oct 22nd

After extensive session work with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney and Common, Karriem Riggins releases a solo album of jazz infused drum loops which are perfect for sampling.

A jazz drummer and producer who has worked with the likes of Common, Slum Village, Talib Kweli and The Roots; Karriem Riggins is on the verge of releasing ”ËœAlone Together’, a 34 track collection of instrumentals which attempts to chart the influences which have shaped his musical career so far. Outside the world of Hip Hop and R&B, Riggins has also collaborated with artists such as Diana Krall and Paul McCartney.

In the style of J Dilla (who gets a nod towards the end of the album on a track called ”ËœJ Dilla The Greatest’), ”ËœAlone Together’ walks a fine line between a Jazz album and a breaks album. A great deal of the 34 songs on offer here are nothing more than the suggestion of a complete piece. This would serve well for turntablists and samplers, but is it enough to hold the attention of the casual listener?

The answer is ”Ëœkind of, but not really’, which might sound both uncommitted and somewhat apathetic, but an album like this really leaves room for no other form of analysis. Whilst it is most definitely pleasant in parts, it has a tendency to simply wander off and has a great deal of difficulty in retaining the attention which it may have garnered at its peak.

It’s the musical equivalent of being transported through several high end department stores on a conveyor belt, spending an average of 90 seconds in each one. The music which is on show is neither offensive, irritating, nor what could in any way be conceived as bad. It’s just somewhat incomplete. There is always the possibility that it will grow on me further over time, but as I’ve been playing ”ËœAlone Together’ for the best part of a week now and still can’t quite get behind it, I find that possibility very doubtful.

There’s no questioning the diversity which is present on this album and it will most certainly find its audience. I can imagine that it will be of far greater interest to bedroom producers, however, as opposed to the general jazz / hip hop buying public.

You can visit Karriem Riggins’ Official Site HERE

Here’s the man in action with Common. This gives a good indication as to the sound on ”ËœAlone Together’ (No current promo video available at time of writing)

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more of his Louder Than War articles HERE
He writes about movies HERE and lurks about on Twitter HERE

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Colin McCracken is an Irish writer and cinematic obsessive who writes extensively about movies on a daily basis for his website Zombiehamster.com. He is equally passionate about vinyl (he used to run an independent record store), literature, live music and film soundtracks. He can also be found regularly on twitter as @zombiehamster.


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