Looking Backwards

Artist: The Sound ProvidersTitle: Looking BackwardsRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jason Hortillas

Ever take a vinyl record of your favorite Hip-Hop artist and play it backwards, in hopes that you hear the words of Satan? Probably not. Although it may be standard in Rock lore, Hip-Hop reserves the use of the reverse backspin for turntablists’and DJs. For the Sound Providers the use of the Memento technique is to crack open the vaults of their classic tunes titled The Sound Providers: Looking Backwards 2001-1998 (Quarternote/ABB). In the same vein as the movie, going back to earlier times answers questions about their evolution.

Known for their heavily jazz influenced material, the San Diego based trio consisting of Profile, Jason Skills and Soulo created a buzz in the late '90's solely on the release of 12" vinyl singles, catching the attention of Cali indie label ABB Records. As a result the SP's received a distribution deal and later released the album, An Evening with the Sound Providers. After more singles were dropped, Profile decided to go out on his own leaving the remaining members to create the eventual album. The compilation of Looking Backwards goes back to the group as a whole, rounding up the same 12" gems that got them noticed.

What the SP's are most proficient in is production. This same formula that fans have come to know, either laid back rhythms or Modal inspired melodies, has never changed for the group. Their sound not as defined as they are now can be seen in its infant stages. Profile is far from a Top five (dead, alive or even animated) MC, but with what was being concocted with the production duo, it was cohesive.

The album includes old promos they did for the Beat Junkies J Rocc and Mr. Choc. Another one was done for 7L of the group 7L & Esoteric which is more like a brief verse rather than song. Taking a lesson from music's past the vibe is very much representative to where the group hails from. West Coast Jazz ala Dave Brubeck, now in Hip-Hop form is the SP sound. Obviously the crew is contemporary but like their jazz counterpart, the tracks are more for easy listening than anything else. As the title indicates, their "sound" definitely does "provide" that.