Positive Thinking! (Exposition)
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., June 13, 2008
Rae DavisPositive Thinking! (Exponential)
Like the two-toned floral pattern artwork that adorns this downtempo gem, Rae Davis' local debut, self-produced in his South Austin home, captures simple beauty, at once complex and completely soothing. Leaning on the keys of a tricked-out Fender Rhodes, the Austin-by-way-of-San-Antonio beatsmith cooks jazzy instrumental electronica with a helping of hip-hop. Davis layers glitchy beats and "wannabe beat-boxing" with live instrumentation, including his own bass and drums and the thereal flute and trumpet of collaborator Freddy Edu. The sample-laden "Old Pianos" salutes Endtroducing-era DJ Shadow, while on "This I Dig of You," the jazz connoisseur winks at understated 1960s sax bopper Hank Mobley. The carefully crafted mood of Positive Thinking! is its greatest strength and ultimate drawback, no track straying far from the chilled-out course as one song frequently bleeds into the next without notice.