Hidden somewhere deep in the heyday of soul and hip-hop is a synthesizer called the SP-1200. A picture of it reveals about thirty buttons, accompanied by a number of large switches; its ability to contain samples no larger than twelve bits, equal to ten seconds of music, has practically made it a dinosaur. In an act of nostalgia (or perhaps just boredom), Jel has picked up this fossil to create the aptly-titled 10 Seconds
10 Seconds is about beats. The songs here have lead samples, but it's the beats in the foreground that make each track dynamic, groovy and gritty. They keep you hooked, wondering what will come next, the music always slowly changing and manipulating. Songs fluctuate between lyricless hip-hop and slowed-down, unpolished techno, but Jel occasionally throws a curveball that sounds completely original and new. "14. Dynamic Button" begins with a fast-paced, marching-band beat, only to assimilate a 4/4 swingy beat, with an occasional waltz layered on top. "16. Channel Assign" displays a lightly brushed beat, along with some synth pads that could've been stolen from the Requiem For A Dream soundtrack. Other songs, such as "Forget It", "Changing Patterns" and "19. Loop/Truncate", feature skimpy lyrical sections that somehow lodge themselves in your head.
Most of the album -- odd as it may sound -- melts into one long, cut-and-paste jam session. It works well as background music, but any song longer than four minutes wears out its welcome. However, at 23 tracks and about an hour of music, most of 10 Seconds creates a pleasantly speculative chillout groove.