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RJD2 Headed to the Metro

By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 30, 2010 6:20PM

RJD2 is the moniker of Philly-based turntable wizard, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer Ramble John (RJ) Krohn. Many know him for supplying the theme song for AMC’s Mad Men, but he’s been making music professionally for more than ten years, starting as a DJ for Columbus rap group MHz back in ’99. Of course, he’s departed from the group since, and in the past few years has been on a voyage of sonic exploration.

His 2007 album, The Third Hand, showed RJD2’s shift from turntable-produced hip hop beats to genre hopping arrangements with self-performed instrumental and vocal - no rap, no guest musicians, and almost no samples. And this year’s release of his fourth album, The Colossus, shows RJ turning in another direction; instead of relying strictly on his own means to produce the album, he took a heavily collaborative approach and incorporated his own instrumentation and vocals, samples, and whole slew of guest musicians and vocalists.

In June, RJD2 released a companion to Colossus entitled Inversions of the Colossus. The 14-track album is composed of instrumental versions of all seven vocal songs on the former album. It also includes seven new songs, each jumping between genres - funk, jazz, psych, hip hop, etc. - in the same style of its predecessor. In the same way, his live show is a medley of organic and sampled music, as RJD2 toggles between turntable, mic, and live instrumentation usually supported by a backing band. Though he isn’t currently on tour, you can catch RJD2 this Friday when he returns to Chicago for a one-off performance at the Metro.

RJD2 plays Friday, Dec. 3 at the Metro, 3730 N Clark, 9 p.m., $20 in advance or $25 at the door, 18+