DJ Oji : Spiritual Journey
From its first beat, a good house CD is supposed to make you yearn to dance your cares away, allowing the weight of the world to fall from shoulders in big, liberating chunks. And that’s exactly what house headmaster DJ Oji’s sophomore release Spiritual Journey does. On “Spiritual Journey,” Oji lays the ground rules: “If you didn’t come to party, take your sorry self home,” the lyrics taunt over an intoxicating beat that quickens the hips like sinful samba.
But what makes Journey a standout is that it moves beyond the dance floor to take you on Oji’s personal spiritual quest as a father and new divorcee. These real-world concerns turn the album into part dance mix, part gut-wrenching musical question-and-answer session between Oji and his creator about hard life lessons. Tracks like the titillating flute-driven “If You Love Somebody” present a confused and frustrated soul who is on his knees and ready to give up on life. “How can people condemn me/ I need someone to defend me/ I need a friend,” the vocals moan, before the flute lifts singer, listener, and song into the next track.
The slow, easy tempo of “Everything You Want” rocks you into gentle contemplation. But in case there’s been too much thinking and too little dancing going on, “Soul Underground” and last year’s club hit “Esteban” hype things back up, reminding you that this is a house release after all. But whatever the stop on Spiritual Journey, brain or boogie, it’s always a soulful trip.