There's a certain subset of music fans I'd call "soul-obsessed": They read Waxpoetics magazine, hover over obscure '60s soul singles, focus on conscious hip hop circa 1988 and worship the '70s jazz-fusion era. For them, a logical progression would be the music of legendary London drum 'n' bass DJ/producer LTJ Bukem (the name's a contraction of McGarrett's signature phrase on Hawaii Five-O).
Half Egyptian and half Ugandan, Bukem (real name Danny Williamson) was heavily influenced by fusioneers Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers and their acid-jazz offspring in the U.K. In the early '90s, he almost single-handedly created a smooth, atmospheric subgenre called "intelligent drum 'n' bass," also known as "jazzstep" or "dolphin," for its liquid-funk aquaticisms. It's analogous in some ways to what Aphex Twin did with techno and Drexciya with electro.
Bukem's tracks, often released on 12-inch vinyl via his famed Good Looking label, stood in stark contrast to the crushing, mechanical dystopianism of techstep drum 'n' bass. He used strings, nature sounds, Rhodes pianoand other easy-listening tropes to create his ambient selections, although it wasn't until 2000 that he finally released the full-length Journey Inwards, and the following year remixed his hero Hancock.
Yet under the "Logical Progressions" banner, Bukem traveled the world with his vocalist MC Conrad, and it's in this guise that he touches down at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern for Fuzz, America's second longest-running drum 'n' bass club night (after New York City's Concrete Jungle). Bukem played a party in Rostraver eight years ago, but Fuzz, a weekly event staged by local drum-and-bass collective 412DNB, is his first appearance inside city limits.
"Everybody in our crew is a big fan of him and his label," explains 412DNB co-conspirator Jake Britsch, who booked 'im. "His tracks were some of the reason why people started to get into drum 'n' bass, and he has a huge fanbase around the crowd."
LTJ Bukem with JTS and Sean Kirby. 9 p.m. Wed., Oct. 8. Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4412 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $15. 412-682-8611 or for tickets, www.412dnb.com