Despite his young age (he’s only 21), DJ Alibi has no small amount of worldly context with which to work—he was born and spent more than half of his life in Russia, though he is now based in the cultural hotbed that is Toronto. His press says that he’s also played violin, piano, trumpet, bass, and guitar, though it’s not immediately clear whether he wields true skill with any of those instruments. Still, such varied cultural and musical experience may help to explain why his debut album One Day is so all over the map when it comes to styles and influences. Only spending two to three minutes on any given musical thought, Alibi runs the gamut from jazz (opener “This Jam”) to soul (“Tenth Round”), to bossa nova and samba beats (“One Day”, “Samba Internacional”). Despite all of the weapons in his own arsenal, however, it’s made clear on One Day that Alibi shines brightest in his collaborations—“Let’s Ride”, which features rapper Insight, is an incredible little song complete with frenetic rhyming and huge beats. Giant Panda and Bamboombox show up for similarly impressive jams, putting front and center Alibi’s skill at playing to the mood of the rapper rhyming over his beats. He knows where to put fills, he knows how to keep from overpowering the vocalists. More than an album, One Day is an audition reel; now all Alibi has to do is wait for the calls to come pouring in.
// Notes from the Road
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