Metrorail Thru Space
Label: Warner Records
Listening is everything that you'd expect from an instrumental hip-hop album in 2006: a feast of break beats, the occasional indie emcee guest spot, ironic vocal snippets and a glaze of retro futurism. There are moments of esoteric indulgence, but when it all comes together -- as on the surf-rocking "[My 1st] Big Break" and the hypnotic "Metrorail through Space" -- it's a lot of fun. And regardless of how played out many of the motifs may seem in 2006, there's no denying that Cut Chemist has the best ear for drum samples this side of DJ Shadow.