The French electro-soul producer and trip hop pioneer born Laurent Daumail grew up listening to the two biggest influences in his music: jazz and hip-hop. Daumail’s father, a jazz buff, created a fan by-proxy in his son. As a teen, DJ Cam developed a love for hip-hop and sampling by listening to legendary groups Eric B. & Rakim and Public Enemy. By age 16, he was deejaying at local clubs. Five years later, in 1994, he released his first full-length album, Underground Vibes. Released in the same year as Massive Attack’s Protection, Cam’s Underground was quickly embraced as a trip-hop torch-bearer. His haunted, downtempo music also bore a strong hip hop imprint—in particular, the jazz-inflected rap of the early ‘90s championed by A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.
These days, DJ Cam’s music has advanced past those clearly delineated trip hop/jazz/hip hop underpinnings to a more amorphous soundscape that encompasses all three, as well elements of trance and soul. Seven (as in, his septimal album) is dramatic tableau of dreamy soundscapes and whooshing atmospherics. Hip hop emerges unexpectedly throughout; in the post-disco electrofunk of “Dreamcatcher” and in the looped grunts and syncopated snares of “A Loop,” for example. And whereas before the boom bap was the heartbeat of his compositions, nowadays DJ Cam’s piano riffs keep the blood flowing in his songs. DJ Cam’s seventh record is filled with the textured, complex findings of a master beatsmith’s over 15 years of exploration and experimentation.