DJ Muggs is of course the legendary deejay and producer from Cypress Hill. Recently, he and Egon teamed up with California’s Broc Cellars and its winemaker Chris Brockway for Notes & Tones: Deep natural wine meets deep jazz and rap samples on vinyl. While I can’t speak to the wine, we can speak to DJ Muggs resulting instrumental album, Notes & Tones.

To make this album, DJ Muggs and Egon sourced and cleared the catalog of one Sun Ra. As one might imagine, it’s a rich catalogue with a lot of different sonic textures, ranging from the most psychedelic and experimental to the more traditional jazz and soul grooves. DJ Muggs is a veteran producer with a lot of different projects under his belt, and his approach to this project is to more or less let the samples guide him as he goes off in different directions. The overall feeling of the album is one that still falls under the umbrella of downtempo instrumental hip hop, but within that subgenre, DJ Muggs is finding all sorts of interesting and subtle ways to use these different experimental jazz samples and deliver some unexpected moments. There’s never a big moment that will blow you away, but there are plenty of small, tasteful moments that add up to some creative and unexpected musical choices that will keep you on your toes just enough over the course of the album. As a result, it becomes a really fun album to keep coming back to see what nuance you might pick up on each time through.

I can’t name any other vineyard/hip hop collabs off the top of my head, especially not one that resulted in an instrumental album like Notes & Tones. DJ Muggs had fun digging into Sun Ra’s catalogue, and we certainly got a treat of an album as a result.