Deep underground, in his secret lab, Cut Chemist has been experimenting with his new set of sinister scratches and samples. The mad turntable tactician, consummate record collector, and DJ-producer for Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli has just released his debut solo disc of sample-based songs, The Audience's Listening
. Twelve slices of South American hip-hop percolate and pop, infused with Island-music atmospherics. Cut Chemist employs luscious samples of old records (like Astrud Gilberto's "Berimbau" on the sexy suite "The Garden") in danceable mixes that bounce like Brazilian big beat; every track swings, struts, and then combusts with guitars, drums, horns, scratches, and periodic rhymes from such rappers as Hymnal, Mr. Lif, and Thes One. The complexity in every groove -- from the hulking B-Boy instrumental "Spoon" to the ethereal samba swinger "A Peak in Time" -- gives these newborn tunes the feet to tango, even alongside lauded works from record slingers like DJ Shadow and the Avalanches.