Rodney Hunter - Hunter Files [G-Stone - 2004]An artist at the time being entirely unknown who completely unexpected treats you to one of the most delicious albums of the year, that’s something I really get a kick out of. And that’s exactly what happened with Rodney Hunter’s debut album, Hunter Files.
Rodney Hunter isn’t exactly entirely unknown, though. The Austrian went to school with Peter Kruder, member of the infamous downtempo-duo Kruder & Dorfmeister and takes part in the Vienna music scene since age thirteen already. He started the record label Uptight Recordings later on with Werner Geier and the two had big downtempo hit with Leena Conquest’s Boundaries. After a lot of production work Kruder & Dorfmeister finally asked Rodney Hunter to make an album to be released on their label G-Stone. The exclusive G-Stone isn’t known for its enormous amount of releases, but each album that wears that brand, is almost automatically of a very high standard.
Hunter Files is no exception to that rule. Various styles are merged into tasty tracks: funk, soul, groove, dub, bossa nova and hip hop are not shunned here. Maybe the intro is a bit superfluous, but when the first tones of Electric Lady are booming through my speakers a sudden smile appears on my face. “Doo Be Doo” disco-style and heavy synth funk makes this a groovy introductory ride into the Hunter Files. It may not come as a surprise that this is the first single from the album. The before mentioned smile only gets bigger when Work That Body comes into action. Now this is a super-funky bass line. The track is monstrously heavy and nice horns are resounding in the background. The same groove continues for 5 ½ minutes, but weirdly enough it never gets boring, and keeps the sensual and uplifting feeling. With Let Your Soul Guide Your Heart Hunter got some help from Herr Dorfmeister and guest-singer Diana Lueger. This is more of a club friendly mid-tempo track with superb percussion and again a horny funky bass.
The next song goes somewhat in a Balearic direction, and meanwhile the bass lines begin to sound like 70s funk. The sexy Spanish voice of Orieta Pires goes on top of that, which makes Quero Saber more than complete. Right after that we can run back to the dancefloor, because There’s A Reason is a phat combination of old acid house and hip hop. This track is decorated by flows by Clumzy T and Ra Face and the smooth soul vocals of Ken Cesar, plus some violin parts. With the next track Take A Ride I’m suddenly listening to modern samba-alike Latin nu-jazz (or whatever you want to call it), while Take A Ride pt. 2 can best be described as swinging dub music with the voice of one called Aladin. We move further along the dub / reggae trail with Find It, now with Farda B. on vocals. Farda B. too, fits to this song as the last missing puzzle piece. This track immediately reminds me of A Different Drummer Selection by Richard Dorfmeister and the Hi-Fidelity Dub Sessions by the Guidance label, and that’s certainly meant as a compliment.
Finished swinging? Then we can move on with some deep soul (Is This Your Boy), again with Ken Cesar doing the singing part. After that we can, without any warning, get straight back on our feet for Without Warning, which gets the label being a deep house track. Then a short interlude, and the album ends with the beautiful, relaxing You’re Not Alone. Is that Rodney Hunter himself singing?
Certainly, the influences of Kruder & Dorfmeister are easy to hear, however I find this a lot funkier and varied. It is truly fantastic how Rodney Hunter blends the mixture of styles with the result an album that is captivating from start ‘till end. And the artwork is awesome as well. Rodney’s modest smile on the cover says it all: there’s a new star at G-Stone’s firmament. Distributed through my favourite shop for nu-jazz, headz, groove, etc., Soul Seduction.Justin Faase