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The Influential Debut Album and Evolving Sound of 9 Lazy 9

9 Lazy 9 and Their Debut Album Paradise Blown

9 lazy 9 joined Ninja Tune in 1992 and quickly gained respect for their ground breaking first album Paradise Blown. Their sound is distinctively more sun than North Sea, a smoky Mediterranean mix of vines and good times.

While tracks built on loops soon became tired in the hands of imitators, Fraser and Braddell’s creations developed a new modern jazz sound. Their follow up in 1994 was the luscious Sweet Jones.

Paradise Blown (1992)

The group’s debut album is one of the most influential instrumental jazz albums ever made. Although 9 Lazy 9 weren’t the first to use looped samples of hip-hop and R&B music into a new type of modern jazzy ensemble, their rich tapestry of layered sounds helped set the standard for what would become a genre of its own.

The most notable songs include the sleazy “Daddy’s Favorite” and a cover of Joey Ramone’s classic “Beat on the Brat,” which features Wurster singing lead in a striped t-shirt. Even though the singles from this album sucked like rotten fish, Paradise Blown is an important part of the band’s legacy. In the hands of imitators, these sorts of tracks built on loops became very tired over time, but 9 Lazy 9 made them fresh again.

Electric Lazyland (1994)

Although many of the tracks on this album were not as fresh as those on Paradise Blown, the music still sounds much better than a lot of what was created by cookie cutter acid jazz and trip-hop producers in the 90s. Throughout the album, 9 Lazy 9 continued to develop their sound by layering melodic snippets from bop classics such as Dizzy Gillespie and Theolonius Monk over complex funky hip-hop beats. This style of creating a song through the use of loops would become cliche by the end of the 90s, but in the hands of 9 lazy 9, this sound was innovative and creative.

Sweet Jones (1998)

The founder and editor-in-chief of esteemed Southern rap publication OZONE magazine, Jones’s memoir is a frank and revealing account of the controversial life and suspicious death of UGK rapper Chad “Pimp C” Butler. Interspersed with interviews with his mother and manager Weslyn “Mama Wes” Monroe, UGK rapper Bun B, and scores of friends and fans including Snoop Dogg, Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Hezeleo, Cory Mo, Drake, Xzibit, Daz Dillinger, Mannie Fresh, J-Dawg, Jazze Pha, and Slim Thug, Sweet Jones is a riveting and informative read.

Swank, often unfairly dinged for relying on a hardness that Hollywood rarely finds imaginative ways to exploit, is superb as Cuddy, whose earnest concern for others makes it especially heartbreaking when her own insecurities are dismissed by those around her. Her odd-couple banter with a crusty, snarling claim jumper played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is wryly funny and underlines traditional gender hierarchies in ways that may or may not be progressively critical.

The Best Of (1999)

Few movies from 1999 have left such an indelible mark on popular culture as this rose-petal-strewn exploration of suburban malaise. Its cynical take on millennial angst has only deepened in the years since it was released, and its message of family-values ecumenism has become more pertinent than ever. Come back Tuesday for The Ringer’s ranking of the top 25 movies of ’99.

A veteran pop-culture writer and modern movie expert could have easily turned this book into a chin-scratching cultural essay, but Raftery instead rolls up his sleeves to conduct an exhaustive journalistic investigation of these films’ themes, legacies and production histories. The result is a fizzy, fun trip through some fascinating truths about the year in film.

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