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Album Review

Alongside DJ Shadow and DJ Krush, Parisian producer Laurent Daumail, aka DJ Cam, was at the forefront of the '90s ambient hip-hop scene, but unlike his peers, has seemed content to spend the best part of the last decade focusing more on various remixes, compilations, and collaborations than any of his own material. Finally returning to the studio, the appropriately titled Seven, his seventh album, which arrives seven years after 2004's Liquid Hip Hop, continues to pursue the intimate chillout sounds of his heyday, as evident on "Love," a gorgeously understated slice of minimalist trip-hop featuring the captivating tones of Massive Attack vocalist Nicolette, the sun-kissed acid jazz of closer "A Loop," and the Bristolian urban soul of "1988." But elsewhere, the Los Angeles-based DJ showcases a newfound cinematic sensibility that prevents the record from becoming merely an "I Love the '90s" affair, as on "Dreamcatcher," which fuses Blade Runner-style synths with skittering breakbeats, sci-fi bleeps, and an anthemic vocal house loop, and the unsettling instrumental title track, which is underpinned by an eerie string section that could have been lifted from a Hitchcock movie. Occasionally, the album fails to avoid descending into coffee-table music territory, such as the languid jazz of opener "California Dreamin" and the meandering new age-inspired "Fontainbleau," both of which wander aimlessly around at a snail's pace without providing anything of note. But while Seven isn't quite worth the seven-year wait, it's a promising comeback suggesting that DJ Cam has the potential to restore his former glories. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi


Born: Paris, France

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Parisian hip-hop devotee Laurent Daumail is one of a few but growing number of French artists updating hip-hop for the chill-out crowd, drawing on the beats'n'samples groundwork of producers such as Rakim, DJ Premier, and Prince Paul and combining it with broad, impressionistic strokes of dub, jazz, and soundtrack-y ambience. Like countrymen the Mighty Bop and la Funk Mob, Cam is stylistically closest to Mo'Wax artists such as DJ Shadow and DJ Krush; minimalist, downbeat instrumental hip-hop built...
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Seven, DJ Cam
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