When Everett-based producer Rain decided to go sample-free for the beats on his excellent second collaboration with Moe Pope, titled “Let the Right Ones In”
and released in January, it didn’t go unnoticed; much of the acclaim that met the pair’s previous album, “Life After God,” came from his sharp talent for twisting samples into evocative instrumentals deeply rooted in the traditional boom-bap aesthetic. But having proven his skills beyond the drum machine, his latest self-released sample-only instrumental album, “Cardiology,” is a reminder of just how far he has come. Recorded as a tribute to his family during Christmas 2011, this collection of nine unreleased tracks revels in an understated jazz groove: “Same, Same . . . But Different” washes a dreamy piano loop over punchy kick drums and hi-hats; “Spoiled” sports warm organ chords and a subtle touch of flutes in the background. Following a loose concept that moves from birth (“Conception”) through death (the original version of the Pope track “Flatline”), each track shows flashes of personality; take the vinyl snap-crackle-pop and easy Sunday groove of “The Foundation,” a reference to grandparents. Though only a quick snapshot of Rain’s talents, this album certainly has heart.
Essential “Same, Same . . . But Different”
“Cardiology” is available at www.todays4cast.bandcamp.com/album/cardiology.