9 Lazy 9 Sweet Jones

With Ninja Tune rapidly moving forward it’s finally time to take a step back and see what’s been going on with one of the original crews from the label’s birth. 9 Lazy 9 has been credited with some of the most recognisable Ninja Tune classics, but no one’s heard a peep from Keir Fraserello and Giacomo Braddellini since the early ‘90s. The duo finally return and it’s apparent that the hip-hop fusion that they’re most famous for has settled into a more abstract jazz that they tinkered with back in the day, but was never as successful as their beat-friendly numbers like "Electric Lazyland.” Though they seem to have settled into a more direct approach, the one thing you can distinctly see with Sweet Jones is how a break of several years has matured their sound to a more atmospheric blend of freestyle jazz and ambient orchestration. "Sunday Monday” is a swinging little number that’s accompanied by live flute and soft rolling drums, where "Pound Stretcher” is a soft and dreamlike sequence of quiet beats over a constant warm tone and capped off with constant trumpet. Sweet Jones can safely be compared to fellow Ninja grandfather Funki Porcini, in which both artists have created a very dreamlike record in their older years. It might not be the material that made 9 Lazy 9 the important outfit that they were back in the day, but it’s still got its moments of beauty. Welcome back. (Ninja Tune)