Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 28/12/07

It’s December and the year is nearly over, but before 2008 brings new releases, I’ve reviewed some latest AA approved records and the last of 2007. So have a look below and check out the beats!

RECORD OF THE MONTH
DOOMTREE – False Hopes
(Doomtree Records)
www.doomtree.net

Let’s open the scene:

Abjekt says: I’m doing a Doomtree buzzer, shall I just suck cock for the entire thing?
Moose says: Yes, completely.

So, with Moose’s backing, welcome to the wonderful world of Abjekt Loves Doomtree. The Minneapolis crew have been tearing the underground of hip hop various levels of new arseholes for a while and with a crew record expected in 2008, they very kindly put out a crew False Hopes, comprising tunes that weren’t quite up to scratch for the album.

After hearing the record, it’s clear to me that Doomtree have just wiped the floor with 99% of music with their scraps. If this is anything to go by, their crew album is going to blow brains faster than a Bangkok ladyboy with Guinness World Records on his mind.
“You’re mad coz you don’t make moves, you’re sad coz you can’t break through, you’re bad and now you hate Doomtree, knives on fire motherfucker, make room” they tell us, and who are we to argue? Take cover, Doomtree are here.

OHMEGA WATTS – Watt’s Happening
(Ubiquity)
www.ubiquityrecords.com

What is always important when listening to good hip hop? Elementary my dear Watson, it’s the drums. If your drums don’t pop, the song might as well stop. If your beats don’t bang, you lose your hunger pang. And if that percussion ain’t fly, then why do you try? So the first thing you get to notice about Ohmega Watts‘ music is that his drums are ALWAYS on point, with absolutely no exception.

His previous album The Find was a great example of this with chilled out tracks galore and it was always going to be hard to follow such a good record. However, with Watts Happening, the producerslashrapper has made an even better record, utilising his vast repertoire of sounds and skills to bring a near perfect album to your ears.

One stand out track is Roc The Bells featuring his crew Lightheaded [Othello and Braille] and shows that he can mix it up with some bangers amongst his chilled out vibes. With a catchy hook, some fierce rapping and those oh so important drums, Ohmega is proving himself to be one of the best producers around.

The brilliant use of drums continues on The Platypus Strut, the intro of which is a sublime growing layer of percussion before launching into [dare I say it?] Ronson-esque horns. And with other guests such as Surreal, Jneiro Jarel and Sugar Pie DeSanto, you know you’re in for an absolute treat.

SHAPE OF BROAD MINDS – Craft Of The Lost Art
(Lex)
www.lexrecords.com

Jneiro Jarel has clearly been taking lessons from Madlib. This is no bad thing, with Madlib being one of the most highly regarded producer in hip hop and Craft Of The Lost Art could easily be a creation belonging to the great man himself.

As it is, Jneiro Jarel and his alter-ego Dr Who Dat? [I wonder if the good Doctor knows Quasimoto?] have brought together his friends Jawwaad, Roque Wun and Panama Black to bring about the album which also features guest spots from Count Bass D and MF Doom amongst others.

The sound is very Stones Throw and this is certain to appeal all those who dig that label, of which I am one. Whilst it does get slightly samey after a while, with the album clocking in at 23 tracks, it is still a good chilled sound to kick back to. The one track that stands out however, is the anomaly in the album – Opr8tr – which features a xylophone beat with some silky smooth vocals on the incredibly addictive chorus.

It’s time to broaden your mind and cop this, without a doubt.

FLYING LOTUS – Reset EP
(Warp)
www.warprecords.com

Growing up as one of the Coltrane family can’t have been easy. Everyone is going to mention it, everyone is going to expect genius and that’s going to put a whole heap of pressure on a budding musician. Luckily, Flying Lotus is someone who doesn’t care about pressure and set about making a quality EP to ready the world for his full album next year.

Tea Leaf Dancers comes straight in with it’s fluid beat, getting the amibence down immediately for the Sunday night feel of the vocals to impress upon your temples in understated fashion. Spicy Sammich shows another side of the producer with its gloomy electro-like stance and Massage Situation flips is again with a plodding beat.

This may only be a 6 track EP, but Flying Lotus has shown a great deal of promise and looks set to invade your ear-space again next year – I can’t wait!

2600 RECORDINGS – Home Entertainment
(2600 Recordings)
www.2600recordings.com

Norwich isn’t the first place you’d think of when asked about hip hop, but 2600 Recordings are certainly doing their bit to make sure you know exactly what the Norwich based label is worth after hearing this CD.

Kicking off in fine zoned-out mood is the Ambulance Chasers track GHC which gets your head floating before melting into SirHowy‘s I Remember Cocoon Union. You get a nice mix of stuff too with Buddy Peace‘s more fuzzy approach and Mr Cooper, who was recently picked out by Sage Francis delivering the best track on the album, reminiscent of another Francis favourite Reanimator. The drums play out over a great piano loop before throwing in a hotch potch of tiny details for you to pick up on.

With 2600 Recordings bringing this much talent to the fore, it’s certainly time to take notice if you haven’t already.

PREFUSE 73 – Preparations
(Warp)
www.warprecords.com

Prefuse 73 is most certainly an acquired taste. This is a man that produces some of the most beautiful melodies around and then, just as you’re getting into it, provides his trademark glitch and you lose your pattern which is something you have to get used to.

What is always evident with Prefuse though is that he knows exactly how to put music together. It might be a very busy sound, like getting lost in a market in some hot foreign country or it might be a laid back beat, but whatever it is he chooses to explore, he does it with so much depth and perception, that you can’t help but admire the man.

His new album, Preparations, is a continuation of all the things I loved about One Word Extinguisher and Security Screenings – his use of live instrumentation on this album however gives it an edge and texture that perhaps wasn’t on the previous albums. With help from Claudia and Alejandra Deheza and John Stanier, Prefuse has managed to deliver on an enormous scale.

If you can get tuned into his mindset, you’re in for an absolute treat.

BIG DADA – Well Deep
(Big Dada)
www.bigdada.com

Let’s make this simple – Big Dada isn’t just a record label, it’s an institution. It’s 10th birthday is upon us and to celebrate it, the label has put out Well Deep, a CD/DVD set that celebrates everything the label has done since its inception.

The audio part of package comes across 2 CDs with a choice selection of tracks which showcase just how powerful and varied the music signed to the label is. All the bangers are there, from Witness (1 Hope) by Roots Manuva to TTC‘s Dans Le Club, from Diplo‘s Diplo Rhythm through Spank Rock‘s Sweet Talk, Wiley‘s 50/50 and Ty‘s Closer to Wherever We Go by New Flesh.

It’s an unstoppable tour de force, just as the label has proven itself to be over the years. If you don’t know much about Big Dada then you’re missing out. Get this, support the people behind this great array of music and enjoy yourself.
For the DVD review, click here.

THE QEMISTS – Drop Audio [Single]
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

“Surrender or run” says the press release for this single and it’s not hard to see why. The Qemists are back with another chunky slice of DnB with their new single Drop Audio, which features the lyrical prowess of MC I.D.

The booming bass builds up before breaking down into a fuzzy melody which runs the gauntlet through the airwaves and ends up grabbing you by the collar and slapping your face before winking at you and walking off smiling.

This is exactly the sort of thing you’d dig if you’re into Pendulum. Can’t say much more than that really.

PENDULUM – Granite [Single]
(Warners)
www.pendulum.com

Pendulum are back and this time they’re on Warner Bros. ready to take their definitive style of rock-infused Drum and Bass to the masses. The debut single from their upcoming album is Granite and it is exactly the type of track you’d expect from the Australian born group.

A spooky intro leads into some fast paced drums and a short, sharp guitar lick before the big boom of the full track comes in. It’s not long before the vocals come in and they do take a bit of getting used to, but once this song is over, you’ll be singing it over and over in your head.

With a UK tour currently taking place with a full band, they are sure to be wowing people up and down the country showcasing their new stuff. This single is bound to be a winner, even if you’re not a DnB fan.

Just before I leave you, I want to share some lego train bombing with you. It’s short but it’s fucking dope:

Ok, that’s your lot. I’ve had a brilliant year for music and 2008 promises to be just as good with albums from Atmosphere, POS, Kid Sister, The Cool Kids, Reanimator & Prolyphic and much more promised. I hope you all had a great Christmas and a great time seeing 2008 in. See you in the New Year!

Peace,

Abjekt.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 17/09/07

Guess who’s back, back again. Abjekt’s back, tell a friend. It’s that time again when I come back and tell you all exactly what sort of hip hop you should be listening to and then threaten to beat you around the face with one of Moose’s old flea-bitten flannel shirts [sorry, it’s not flea-bitten “it’s fucking Levi’s that!”]. Right, onwards:

Record Of The Month
BLOCKHEAD – Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book

(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Aesop Rock’s best mate and producer extraordinaire is back with another solo album but this time he speeds things up a little bit. Explaining the album, the New Yorker explained he wanted this album’s tracks to be at least 100 bpm though he said wasn’t necessarily making a “happy” album.

Like always with Blockhead though, above everything, his beats are fucking good. His previous album, Downtown Science wasn’t amazing, especially compared to his incredible Music By Cavelight, but Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book is a return to form. The opening track, Coloring Book begins with a sample telling the listener “this is going to be fun” and they’re not wrong.

His drums are sublime on every song and that is what makes him such a treat to listen to and he proves he can do something different when he brings in some eastern flavour on Grape Nuts And Chalk Sauce which is reminiscent of C-Mon & Kypski’s Circus. Duke Of Hazzard brings in the blues, Get Your Regal On kicks it brass-heavy style and the superb closer NYC Bounce gives it some guitars and muted trumpet to finish off an experimental yet vastly enjoyable album.

SIXTOO – Jackals And Vipers In Envy Of Man
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Canada’s Sixtoo is someone who I always wanted to be given more credit. He gets his plaudits, for sure, but for someone so talented not to be mentioned all the time is a crime. So it’s great that he’s putting this record out on Ninja Tune and hopefully it will bring him the applause he so rightly deserves.

The album is supposed to be listened to from start to finish as a complete composition and the atmospherics he brings out lull you into a state of pure catatonic bliss. Electronically orientated, his beats warrant turning all the lights off and closing your eyes so you can fully soak up all the sounds that are zooming in from every angle.

It’s a dark album, certainly not one to boogie down to, but Sixtoo does what he’s always done so well and that’s create a soundscape so bold and complex that you have no choice but to listen to every last note to full appreciate what the producer has done. Simply put, this album is amazing.

DAEDELUS – Fair Weather Friends EP
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

When I think of Daedelus, I think of what the press release describes perfectly – “baroque electronic music”. So when I put this new EP into the player and heard the title track pump out chirpy melodies combined with bouncing drums and hand claps, I was not only surprised but delighted.

He then goes on to switch it up again with some R&B style vocals over a guttural grimey beat which continues with the head-shaking bassline Hermitage and speedy cymbal hits. This could easily be thrown into a club mix to get people on their feet and putting their hands in the air.

So with this EP, which features two other tracks, Alfred Darlington has complete re-invented his sound and includes so many twists and turns that you’ll get dizzy trying to figure out where he’s going next. My advice? Stop thinking and get dancing y’all.

KONGEROR – Short Tape, Dope Break
(Self Released)
www.myspace.com/gahedrecords

Kongeror, out of Phoenix, Arizona is a rapper I was lucky enough to see when I was last over in Minneapolis when he opened at the Carnage album release show and whilst I was over there Kon gave me his CDr which came all the way back to London with me.

Now, I could go on about how great his dark soundscapes but that might only lead you to think of acts like Grayskul and I don’t want to lead you in that direction. What makes Kon’s sound so great is that whilst his beats sound understated at first listen, they draw you in and by the end of the CD, you can’t get to the repeat button quick enough. Lyrically tight, Kon is a rapper to look out for, so head over to his myspace and get acquainted.

M.I.A. – Kala
(XL Recordings)
www.xlrecordings.com

M.I.A launched herself into the public eye a couple of years ago with her very unique sound, giving people the chance to hear her views on her childhood spent between Sri Lanka and London. And now she’s back, as she says in opening track Bamboo Banga : “M.I.A.’s coming back with power, power” with her distinctive vocals.

What is particularly good about this album is the percussion, something helped in part by the awesome producing skills of Switch and Diplo and in part by the use of booming sounds like the Indian drums on BirdFlu. Throughout the album you find yourself propelled by the thunderous pummelling of drums, which is perfect for getting you up on your feet.

The stand out track for me is XR2, with Diplo’s pounding beat and typically squashed horns, providing a party backdrop for the rapper to talk over in a manner which indicates that she’s a bit mashed.

My only problem with M.I.A. is her voice. Whilst it is distinctive and fresh, I just can’t get into her delivery and it’s a shame because I think this album’s beats are a massive step up from Arular and I want to like it, but I just find myself getting a bit annoyed wishing there was another rapper over it.

FINK – Distance And Time
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Ninja Tune seems like a bit of a strange home for Fink, a singer who has enlisted Andy Barlow from Lamb to look after production duties on this album. Regardless of the label though, this album is what I have come to expect from Fink. This album is full of tunes for that lazy afternoon when you just went to sit back and have something chill on.

Being compared to Jose Gonzalez could possible be quite a daunting thing but though there are some similarities, Fink’s music has that little edge to it that makes it stand out from the rest of these similar artists. The sound is a lot bigger and has more depth to it than that of Gonzalez and the like, whilst still being able to focus on Fink’s hazy voice. This could appeal to a lot of different people and hopefully it will as this is an album that deserves a listen.

KID ACNE – Romance Ain’t Dead
(Lex Records)
www.lexrecords.com

You remember back in the day when you had really bad ear wax and your mum took you to the doctor who pumped a load of hot water in your lug hole and made out like that was going to make it better but in fact just made it feel like you were underwater and about to be sick? Yeah? Well that seems to be the problem with the person who has described Kid Acne as a British Beastie Boy.

I could go through this record track by track by I feel it can be summed up in a very quick, easy way – Despite being on Lex and having some semblance of credibility on the scene, Kid Acne is more or less half a step removed from Goldie Lookin’ Chain.

And that’s it. Next…

THE DUB PISTOLS F. RODNEY P & TERRY HALL – Peaches [Single]
(Sunday Best)
www.sundaybest.net

Peaches by The Stranglers is a sure fire classic, everyone knows that. But if you’re going to rinse it, then there’s no-one better to get on the vocals than Rodney P. The rapper always manages to bring the sunshine to the room even in this wet, shit and grey summer we’ve had this year.

There’s not much else to say about this really. It’s dope, the Dub Pistols give it that hip hop edge and the Hammond organ plays the melody straight into your memory and sticks around as Rodders tells us he’s a man “who’s got a fetish for a peach and not a plum.” What a don.

MARK RONSON F. AMY WINEHOUSE – Valerie [Single]
(Columbia)
www.markronson.co.uk

Another single from the New York producer as his take on The Zutons’ track makes it way into my player. Whilst I’m a fan of Winehouse’s voice and don’t dislike this song, it’s not one which is going to stay in my player for a long time. You get what you expect from Ronson these days, Stax sounding horns and those same drums he’s used to good effect on the rest of the album, but that’s about it.

Look out for the Sinden remix though, which is a certified badboy of a track. The DJs signature pouding basslines come straight to the fore with some nice effects thrown in to keep you interested as you dance. Sinden can do absolutely no wrong in my book at the moment and he is a good reason to pick this single up.

BUMBLEBEEZ – Dr Love [Single]
(Modular)
www.myspace.com/thebumblebeez

Comparing something to Gorillaz is a bold move. As a Damon Albarn fanboy, I take this sort of comparison very seriously with both my eyes squinted and my finger ready to be wagged in a telling-off kind of way. So with my finger posed for action, I pressed play on this single from Chris Colonna and Pia.

I can see where this Gorillaz thing comes from as it does sound a little like [that single] with the high pitched girl rapping over the top and a nice dancey beat for the summer that we haven’t had. And hey, if Annie Mac digs it, it can’t be all that bad now can it?

With remixes from A-Trak [bassy, chunky and awesome] and Architecture In Helsinki [all over the fucking shop] backing the original, it’s one to check out for 2008.

This month’s art comes from The Blind, an artist that puts up braille on the walls of his cities around the country.

It’s not only a fresh idea, but the finished result looks fucking awesome and with his myspace giving you a guide to the letters, it’s fun trying to decipher what has been put up.

This is exactly the kind of original art that needs to be celebrated so get on it people!

Right, that’s it for this month but I’ve already got some amazing stuff coming my way for the next lot of reviews, including the 10 Year Anniversary celebration of Big Dada, definitely one of the best labels out there. Until then, keep listening to beats, keep grogging the streets and sucking those teets [whatever, it rhymed].

Abjekt.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 14.08.07

The Jektmosphere

Right then, suitably refreshed after a week in my home away from home, Minneapolis, where I was lucky enough to see the likes of Blueprint, Felt, Brother Ali, Men Of Leisure, Ice Rod, Gallows and various members of Doomtree live, and spending my time discussing just why LL Cool J wants to be remembered as the man who leaves his drawers in your hamper, I’m back with some reviews.

It’s been an incredible month for hip hop and the list below proves just that, with plenty more fantastic music coming out in the next few weeks which you’ll see reviewed in the next edition, including the fresh new Blockhead album.

Just before I start I want to say peace to everyone who suffered or knew someone who suffered in the Minneapolis bridge collapse. And I always want to big up the following people that made my week away so much fun: Alice [Cardboard Kitten 4 lyf bitches], ChechRok [aka Cecil Otter], Jake Money, Snakebird, Espada, Mike 2600, Crista, James motherfuckin’ Lynch, Rachel and everyone else at Rhymesayers. Dope – the lot of you.

Record Of The Month
AESOP ROCK – None Shall Pass

(Definitive Jux)
www.definitivejux.net

When Aesop Rock released Bazooka Tooth, he received mixed reviews across the board, people either absolutely loved it or they thought it was utter garbage. An EP and mixtape for Nike later and Aes Rizzle is back with what’s likely to be one of the best albums of the year.

The feel of the album is a lot more heavy and sludgey than before, more akin to El-P’s Fantastic Damage whilst still retaining the sensibilities of his Labor Days and the mix of styles fits perfectly as he brings his typically abstract lyrics to the beats. First single None Shall Pass runs a quick bit through his vocal meanderings and follows up with the brilliantly named Catacomb Kids before launching into the brilliantly Blockhead produced Bring Back Pluto.

He mixes up his styles well on the album, always giving a track it’s own personality whilst still allowing it to work within the album as a whole with Getaway Car being the most memorable with its twanging guitar loop and guest spots from Breezly Brewin’ and Cage. With El-P and Rob Sonic also appearing no the album, it’s safe to say Aesop Rock is back.

There’ll be no mixed reviews on this one, it’s a sure fire winner.

ATMOSPHERE – Sad Clown Bad Summer [Sad Clown Bad Dub 9]
(Rhymesayers)
www.rhymesayers.com

Let’s get this clear right away, the only reason this isn’t my record of the month is because it’s only a 5 track EP. Were this to be a full length album, it would no doubt knock everyone else flat on their worthless arses. However, despite it only being 5 tracks, it’s still a fucking brilliant record and one worthy of their long line of tour-only Sad Clown series titles.

Basing all 5 songs around piano loops and samples, Ant has constructed some perfectly summery vibes for Slug to rap over. From the aptly titled Sunshine, where Daley raps about how great life is when even the “birds are bumping” through the graf-writer’s RFTC which could have been lifted straight from Felt 2, to the stand out track Mattress, the most feel-good song I’ve ever heard.

This is leading up to another Sad Clown and then next year’s studio album. Fuck yes.

CHROMEO – Fancy Footwork
(Back Yard)
www.chromeo.net

Unfortunately for Chromeo, I got the Aesop Rock album in the same month and as such the Canadian duo didn’t hit the record of the month slot. However, don’t let that detract from what is, simply put, one of the best albums I’ve heard all year. Imagine Sparks making music in the 2000s after having listened to some hip hop and a healthy dose of funk – put all that in a pot and you’ve got Chromeo.

Maybe that sounds like the shittest music ever, but I bet you a packet of haribo that by the end of this album you’ll have strutted your stuff, popped your collar, wound and ground and moonwalked all the way across the room. From the anthemic intro, which in itself could be a fantastic full length song, to the immediately dance-inducing Tenderoni, Fancy Footwork and Bonafide Lovin’, Chromeo “ooh” and “uuh” their way through smash pop hit after smash pop hit, all with their sparkly tongues in their cheeks.

By the time you get to Momma’s Boy, and hear the lyrics “Girl you’ve got it, so bad, when the only boy you know is your dad”, you’ll already know you’re listening to a fantastic album. Whether you like electro, hip hop, funk or pop, this is definitely one for you.

ROBUST – El Foto Grande
(Galapagos 4)
www.galapgos4.com

Another close run for record of the month, Chicago’s Robust has released this album with help on the production from one of my favourite producers at the moment, Mike Gao. The piano loops and understated by incredibly effective drums that run throughout the album are yet another reason why the Galapagos 4 label is one to keep a serious eye on.

The stand out tracks all bring something different to the table too, showcasing the versatility of both the producer and the rapper, with the title track bringing some straight up hip hop with Love It All giving the listener some more introspective and delicate touch. Whatever the vibe though, the MC kills it and makes this a genuinely worthwhile record.

CALVIN HARRIS – Merrymaking At My Place
(Fly Eye/Columbia)
www.calvinharris.tv

The cheeky Scottish so-and-so is back with the third single from his album I Created Disco and hits us with another slice of electro-tinged pop which makes you do the robot in your chair, making it a dead give-away that you’ve got your headphones in as you do it at the most important board meeting of your career so far.

But who cares about stupid things like a job when you’ve got some excellent remixes on the flip side from Flat Eric’s alter ego, Mr Oizo who gets that fist bumping and Kissy Sell Out who provides a huge bassline underneath the piano loop, giving it a brilliant club edge.

KID SISTER – Control
(Fool’s Gold)
www.myspace.com/kidsister

Anyone who has spoken to me in the past year or so will know that I love Kid Sister. I’m not going to front, it’s true. Where Uffie is popular because she’s just cool, Kid Sister takes that coolness and raises it with having the ability to rap. Surrounding herself with dope producers doesn’t harm her either.

This 12″ is produced by XXXChange from Spank Rock, and you can immediately hear his influence on the beat with his bass-heavy grime intro and fast paced hand claps which provides the perfect foil the feisty MC to deliver her lyrics. Another certified winner from A-Trak’s label Fool’s Gold.

NEON NEON f. SPANK ROCK & HARMAR SUPERSTAR – Trick For Treat
(Lex Records)
www.myspace.com/neonx2

Hearing about a team up with Boom Bip and Gruff from the Super Furries seems a strange enough occurance but adding Spank Rock and Har Mar to the mix just throws another 15 spanners into the works. Only… they come out with a fucking stonker [yes, a stonker] of a track.

It could easily be a Spank Rock track beat-wise, which is why MC Spank Rock seems so at home around the beat, his nasal delivery thumping along with the swollen beat before the Har Mar jumps in once again making you like him despite having absolutely no idea why. If the rest of the record sounds like this, it’s definitely going to be an under-rated banger.

THEORY HAZIT – Emit Gninrut
(Hip Hop Is Music)
www.hiphopismusic.com

Hip Hop Is Music continually put out great records, with Braille and Sivion heading the way in the past year or so with their solo efforts. This time it’s the turn of Theory Hazit and he brings out this 12″ as a taster for his album Extra Credit.

The sound that we’ve come to expect from Braille’s label is apparent again here, a nice shuffling yet brisk beat bounces around Theory Hazit’s flow as he smoothly falls into a sung chorus. Whilst this isn’t the most head turning track I’ve ever heard, it’s a nice chilled song to bump when you’re not in the mood to get up off the sofa.

The art for this month is something from Italy. I’m not hippy but seeing this basically says it all.

This world is shit enough as it is most of the time, why do we want to make it even worse by blowing everything up? Spread some fucking peace, it’s much more relaxing yo.

You can start spreading the love by sending me CDs, books, vinyl, emails… anything you want. Anything that I get that’s free is fucking lovely and I’m sure you’d want to take part in making me happy now wouldn’t you?

And finally, make sure you check out the new designs from my pistol in Bristol – Gav from Jam Factory.

His Cookie Mob Yardie Krew t-shirts are fucking great and I’ve just bagged myself one. So follow suit and click on the t-shirt below to order yours. Or else.

Make sure that you keep checking back for more reviews, news, radio shows and such because I always aim to get the best hip hop music to you and always love feedback, so hit me up!

So now I will pass you into the trusted [ahem] hands of Mojoe who will be keeping you up to date on all the best remixes he’s found on MySpace. Not that Joe spends every waking second of his life on MySpace. Oh no… he’s on Facebook too.

The Joe Zone

Easy everyone. So unless you’ve been rocking out Patrick (of Spongebob fame) style and living beneath a rock under the sea, you would have no doubt noticed the current Electro Renaissance that seems to have fallen upon us.

With Justice leading the crusade after last month’s terrifyingly good debut album, ‘‘, the following month has seen similar artists surf the fuck out of the waves left in it’s wake. So this month I’ve decided to focus my attention on a selection of the finest remixes to emerge in the peak of summer. Although, with all the rain falling around, it’s felt like Britain is sailing on the Titanic.

But anyway, have a gander at some of the brighter aspects of my month. Most of them can be downloaded from various online blogs, so be sure to hit ’em up and keep doing the d.a.n.c.e.

Record Of The Month
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – LoveStoned (Justice Remix)
(Jive/Ed Banger/Vice)
www.justintimberlake.com / www.myspace.com/etjusticepourtous

In terms of pop success, Justin Timberlake is pretty much the contemporary Michael Jackson. He’s got those matchless vocals, risqué, but not crude lyrics, style and moves that mimic the moonwalker himself. LoveStoned is a prime example of the man’s talents, backed up by beats courtesy of hip hip-hop (hip hop that’s hip!) wonder boy, Timbaland, it’s undoubtedly the most booty shaking record on his 2006 sophomore smash, FutureSex/LoveSounds.

So when the Ed Banging, lead honchos of the current electro takeover, Justice, decide to re-work this awesome track we see the French Phantoms at a fork in the road. Do they rip it apart anomalously and make a heavy and dirty techno interpretation such as their attack on Daft Punk’s Human After All, or simply funk it up Jacko style, and make it radio friendly like their pimped out debut, D.A.N.C.E. Naturally, in true Justice style, they threw everyone’s expectations out of the window and did both.

The remix is almost a portfolio to showcase what the Parisian duo is capable of. Sticking well within the songs structure, Xavier et Gaspard amplify the strings to expose the songs true funkadelic qualities. It’s only until after the first chorus do we see their trademark basslines come in as if Flea from the Red Hot Chilli’s was playing a solo whilst surfing on a piano crashing down a flight of stairs. It’s a booty shaking oxymoron from start to finish. Especially in the latter section of the song, introduced by Justin’s imperative whisper, ‘Listen’, where the pair boldly throw in as many zips and blips as possible, resulting in a fabulous crescendo of jaw dropping, head banging disco music. Dropped on the interweb, alongside their dark twist on their own single, D.A.N.C.E., Justice have proven themselves to be an unstoppable force. Reckon without them at your loss.

MATT AND KIM – Yea Yeah (Flosstradamus Remix)
(iheartcomix)
www.mattandkimmusic.com / www.myspace.com/flosstradamus

The slicker that oil robotic utterance of Chicago’s own “Fl-fl-fl-fl-fl-fl-floss-tradamus” has become an audible stamp of quality on tracks to get your body moving. When these two get together and scoop the goodness out of other band’s noise, whilst decorating with their own little flamboyantly gangster sprinkles, you know it’s going to be some serious off the wallet chain shit. If you should require evidence of the duo’s uncanny ability to bring a club’s dancefloor to an epiphany, then just listen to their ravestradaming (get that down Urban Dictionary) onslaught on Lil’ Jon and Three Six Mafia’s Act A Fool. It brings a whole new definition to the word crunk.

This time, it’s Brooklyn’s happy clappy twosome, Matt and Kim, who are targeted by those diamond loving hooded yobs. The ever so quiet, but effective bassline that supports the infrastructure of the original, is morphed into a horny monster, capable of moving sub woofers around like a wind-up doll. The effect it has is astronomical. It’s the musical equivalent of finding a painting by Salvador Dali, unique and daring in it’s own environment, and then going over the outlines in a big fat neon yellow coloured flow pen. My response to it? I can’t be fucking bothered to tell you, I’m too busy dancing my arse off.

KANYE WEST – Stronger (Diplo’s Work Is Never Over Remix)
(Roc-A-Fella/Big Dada)
www.kanyewest.com / www.bigdada.com

Considering beat dropping man of the moment, Diplo, has not actually included any of Kanye‘s input of the Daft Punk classic onto his remix, it raises the question as to why he has penned it as a remix of Kanye’s latest single, Stronger rather than simply a Daft Punk remix. Perhaps it’s to grab the megalomaniac’s attention and to demonstrate how a man who let’s his talent do all the talking manipulates samples. This is a good thing. I certainly had heard enough of Kanye Waste and his gargantuan mouth ramble on about how brilliant he is over the top of a classic sample, played at a speed that just doesn’t work. It was like driving a Zonda at 30mph to the local shop for some bread and milk, totally unnecessary.

Good job there was Diplo on hand to save the day. He whips into Daft Punk’s beautifully crafted Zonda, and slips it into top gear, before drifting around a hairpin bend at 200mph. While Kanye is busy looking for another shop that will hopefully stock skimmed milk, Diplo has already tamed that unforgettable sample with his growing collection of beats from the ages. It’s relentless and unforgiving, but also inviting and thrilling. Unlike Kanye’s ironically weak attempt, this really is harder, better, faster and stronger.

Meanwhile, on his throne, Kanye is staring out through his newest pair of venetian blind glasses, probably unaware that some DJ who sounds like an ice-lolly has schooled him hard. Say, it’s only a paper moon after all.

BLOC PARTY – Hunting For Witches (Crystal Castles Remix)
(Vice)
www.blocparty.com / www.myspace.com/crystalcastles

Despite the fairly negative response, I was always fond of this track off Bloc Party‘s sinister second album, A Weekend In The City. Despite the awkwardly tactless lyrics, it was a firm reminder that the London lads could still deliver the goods, all be it in very straightforward indie rock style. A great choice for single, but it wasn’t sold for me in the slightest. Then of course, in true Bloc Party fashion, they have a killer b-side alongside it. Which came in the form of a remix by Toronto’s Electrochiptune/Bitpoppunkcore duo, Crystal Castles. Try to imagine Sonic Youth trapped in an early Nintendo game, that’s it. And now we have a sold single.

Since their debut last year, Alice Practicing (a song which was recorded by accident during a microphone test, much to Alice’s later annoyance), I have been hooked to their illustrious take on a sound that is pretty much rinsed to death by every other kid locked in his bedroom. Once again with this explosive remix, Ethen and the well-trained Alice hurl out another belting tune for us neeks. It’s like a time bomb, with the wires concealed inside woven into the shape of a big, bright happy face. Lovely.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 29/06/07

We’re back in the Mix once more and with it comes your usual slice of hip hop and other beat-related goodness from all over the globe. As the rains pour down, despite it being almost July, we know you need a big pick-me-up of amazing music so read on and get down to the funky shit we have lined up for you!

The Jektmosphere

Record Of The Month:
JOE BEATS – Diverse Recourse

(Bully Records)
www.bullyrecords.com

If you’re not familiar with Joe Beats, then let me fill you in. He is the man behind the beats for the Non Prophets, he is the man who brought you the Indie, Rock, Blues Experiment and he is the man who provides the sorts of beats that your ear-drums were made for.

It’s hard to pick out songs that stand out amongst the rest, because the standard is so high and from the first watery guitar loop of Don’t Front, you get pulled along on a ride that you’ll pray never ends. Pour Me One is a track that could easily have come from his Indie, Rock, Blues album, the beautiful guitars sliding perfectly around the cymbals and understated drums in a prime example of what makes Joe so good.

If I did have to pick a particular spot on the album as a favourite, it would be the three tracks towards the end of the album – the pseudo-mexican horns of The Buzz Off into the more swing elements of Merc Ret and finishing up with the pure freshness of Spikes For The Punchbowl, complete with fantastic bassline and backed up by the organ parts.

I’ve made this album my Record Of The Month because at no point did I want to skip a track or feel as though it carried on too long. If you want to chill out to a brilliant instrumental album, then pick this up.

DIZZEE RASCAL – Maths & English
(XL)
www.dizzeerascal.co.uk

So Dizzee is back and with it comes the fanfare of “the best British hip hop album ever made”. That tag is sure to place ridiculous amounts of hype on Dylan Mills who has previously brought the grime scene to the mainstream and, quite frankly, he doesn’t live up to it with this album.

True, there are some bangers on here, Pussyole [Old Skool] being the prime example of that, sampling Lyn Collins and bringing some straight up, fast-paced, in your face deliveries. Following it up with the Korn-esque Sirens is another good move, the downtuned chugging fitting his sharp, cutting voice. But after 3 songs, he’s already used up 2 of the 4 good songs on here.

Flex is a nod back to the garage days, beat wise and is a good fun party record and the pure grimey U Can’t Tell Me Nuffin’ takes Dizzee back to where he came from, but the rest of the album is filler for me.

Where’s Da G’s featuring some nonsense dirty south bullshit guests and this continues with Alex from Arctic Monkeys only serving to ruin Temptation and Lily Allen murdering Wanna Be.

So, if this is the best British hip hop album ever made, then Dizzee’s maths must mean 1 + 1 = 3.

THE QEMISTS – Stompbox [Single]
(Ninja Tune)
www.myspace.com/qemists

Drum n Bass badboys Qemists serve up an awesome slice of sonic action with their new single Stompbox. Throwing in a foot stamping guitar lick over the typically dance-inducing DnB gives you the perfect excuse to have a bit of a rave up in your front room. Oftentimes this sort of track doesn’t work, but fuck me, this does.

The track is backed with When Ur Lonely, another action packed song which features some echoing vocals thrown into the mix. The vocals provide the perfect build up to the eventual banging drum beat. If these two tracks are anything to go by, the Qemists are going to be smacking it up hard when their album drops.

THE BUG F. FLOWDAN – Jah War [Single]
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

I first heard this track on Sinden’s radio show on Kiss and must say I wasn’t too impressed by it. The beat is stripped down to the bare bones, with a shotgun like drum beat and a sporadic and booming bassline, blending the worlds of ragga and grime.

With a beat this skeletal, it’s down to the vocals to give it that extra bit of energy it needs to get your head bumping and unfortunately Roll Deep’s Flowdan just doesn’t do that. With no charisma or character in his delivery, it just sounds like he can’t really be bothered and as such this track comes off as a bit of a damp squib. The Loefah remix doesn’t add anything to the original either, which is a shame all round.

WILEY – My Mistakes [Single]
(Big Dada)
www.bigdada.com

Wiley is the Godfather of grime, so we keep being told. He has already said that this album, his first for the Big Dada imprint, will be his last and as such as received a huge amount of press on it. There has been a big battle made between Wiley and his protégée Dizzee by the press but on the strength of this track and having heard the whole of the Dizzee album, Wiley seems to have the upper hand.

The beat features some nice strings loops and the beat flows brilliantly around the rapping of Eski, Manga and Little Dee. The lyrics might not be the most amazing words ever (“my mistakes are made by me, your mistakes are made by you”) but the beat certainly makes up for it. And with Armani XXXchange on the remix duties, you know it’s going to be a big basslined badboy.

HEXSTATIC – When Robots Go Bad
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Another Ninja Tune release, this time from electro funsters Hexstatic. The opening track sets the rest of the album up well with a guitar-led beat that sounds like it could have come out of a Daft Punk b-side.

The bleeps and beats continue on Tokyo Traffic, moving you through the fuzzy cosmos with glitchy turns arrive at just the right moment. The use of MCs are used to good effect with Australia’s B+, Edinburgh’s MC Profisee and Ema J, but the problem comes about halfway through the album when you get the impression that everything starts to sound exactly the same.

If you were to listen to one track on its own, you’d no doubt find a fun little number but with the album clocking in at 13 songs and 50 minutes, it wears thin and leaves you wanting a lot more from the duo.

This month’s art comes in the form of Above. The simple idea of pasting arrows around the cities of the world has become and all-encompassing statement and recently Above went to New York to bring his arrows to life. Check the video below for the New York edition and click here for all the others!

And on that note, it’s over to Mojo Jojoe for his picks…

The Joe-Zone.

Record Of The Month
JUSTICE – †
(Ed Banger Records)
www.myspace.com/etjusticepourtous

In 2003, and then again in 2006 dancefloors across the multi-verse were filled with raving lunatics, intoxicated or not, proclaiming their love for one another, chanting, “We, are, your friends!” for that special moment that you wish would last forever. Never, since Daft Punk released Discovery back before the millennium had dance music sounded so compelling, let alone drive raw human emotion wilder than anything The Troggs have ever sung about. Paris duo, Justice had stumbled across the secret for one of the best club songs ever (yeah, that’s right, I’m saying it.), and with that, could potentially be one of the biggest names in real, bass fuelled electro.

Now, a year on from the explosion of the remix of Simian’s Never Be Alone, the Ed Banger frontmen spearheaded their hugely hyped debut album, aptly titled , with the sublime D.A.N.C.E EP. Just imagine the joyful yelps of Ninja from The Go! Team whilst she’s making sweet love to the robot rock production of Daft Punk. Sounds promising doesn’t it? Now picture that on top of another absurdly good bassline, that could only have been crafted by the skilled duo themselves, la Justice. This magic cocktail is a blessing in an era where too many artists, instead of gracing the world with gloriously fresh music are really just a dildo with a gift tag labelled “Radio One” firmly attached to it.

But that was just one flavour of the album, an album in which the French Phantoms appeal to your entire palate. Opening with the epic and powerful Genesis, which war sirens lead into the charging Let There Be Light (have you spotted the pattern yet?) is a fantastic introduction to an early contender for my album of the year. The rest is a pick and mix of the old school funk samples demonstrated in D.A.N.C.E, huge club anthems like the phenomenal Phantom, groggy basslines that have as much time changes as a Glassjaw record and best of all, not one robot voice in sight.

Unlike Canadian rivals, MSTRKRFT, Justice are steering away from spoofing Daft Punk to the extreme and are bringing so much variety to the wheels of steel. Bringing in outside voices, such as fellow Ed Banger Activist and my number one tight unit, Uffie, into the mix works wonders, and sets them apart from the rest.

With a successful set at Coachella under their belt, not to mention superb sets in clubs across the world, Justice are rightfully gaining a rigid fan base. The Bible states “When Justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous, and terror to all evil-doers”, and that is one thing in the Holy Book that you certainly cannot question.

RADIO SLAVE – Misch Mash
(Fine Records)
www.rekids.com

Brighton’s Matthew Edwards, AKA Radio Slave has been slaying clubs with his twisted take on funk dance for quite some time now. He’s given birth to more deranged things than anyone in Essex can dare claim against him. I should know, I’ve lived there for eighteen years after all. So when you pick up a copy of his latest Misch Mash of quirky electro beats from inconspicuous artists such as Trentmoller and Shackleton, you should not dismiss the guaranteed quality that lies within. This is slithering down tempo beats that leak nothing but savage, thumping toilet walls goodness. And it’s fabulously dark.

The second disc features some of Radio Slaves own remixes, which are fine on their own. But considering that disc one has several mixed in swimmingly with other haunting dance tracks at a constantly progressive tempo then it becomes terribly overshadowed. Which is a shame, as his re-working of Pet Shop Boys’ Minimal is dope on rope. Slip this beauty in your CD player, kick back and relax, while it may not be this most overly memorable acid house trip, it’ll no doubt cause a few relapses.

SHY CHILD – Noise Won’t Stop
(Wall Of Sound)
www.shychild.com

NYC’s Shy Child are a bizarre bunch. Title track from this brilliant debut, Noise Won’t Stop kicks its way out through your subwoofer like a cat whose been mistaken by a schoolboy for a pile of books, and his now causing his back much discomfort as it attempts to bring the ruckus to his rucksack. It’s vicious. Propelled by a bouncing bassline, guided along by the pied piper soundings of what could easily be a gang of delinquents armed with kazoos. This angst fuelled dance music, also heavily embraced by such artists like Shout Out Out Out, Hot Chip and overlords of guitar pronged rave, Klaxons, is rarely performed with such flair. As Kick Drum begins, auteur vocalist Pete Cafarella shows how much flair his two-man army can pull off.

This album sounds like the alarms that may go off when the next great world war begins in 2356, dislocated sirens and a robotic sap telling someone to ‘drop the phone’. But until that fateful day happens, it’s a great sound to get loose to. And while this album somewhat hit and miss at rare occasions, it does what it says on the tin. Shy Child are making noise, and aren’t going to stop anytime soon.

NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB – Fantastic Playroom
(Modular Recordings)
www.wearepony.com

I first came across London’s indie-electronica 5 piece, New Young Pony Club during the inception of NME’s overwhelming swarm of new rave bullshit, which for some reason, has yet to fade and diminish. Which is odd, considering the band paramount to all this nonsense, Klaxons, have shunned away the concept of new rave themselves.

Anyway, so when reluctantly opening NYPC’s debut, I was foolishly expecting a barrage of more anthems for doomed youth, exemplified by the likes of the aptly titled Shitdisco. Songs that encouraged adolescents to march forward, proudly bearing their glowsticks and only halting to re-adjust their genital mutilating jeans. Thankfully, I was wrong, and the album was a glorious reminder of why I should never trust anything written in NME!

From opener, ‘Get Lucky‘ all the way through to this album’s denouement, Tahita Bulmer and her posse invite us in to their truly fantastic playroom accompanied by wickedly whippy basslines and teasingly seductive, borderline provocative lyrics. Persistently head nodding and hip shaking the NYPC make a fine effort at blending the spice of indie rock with the undoubtedly cool aspects of dance funk, without ever once sounding like a teen trend that will vanish after one album. ‘Fantastic Playroom’ is unmistakably groovy, and that’s a word I don’t think I’ve ever said before in my life. My, my.

Up in the player is a prime example of what’s great about this album. Entitled ‘Jerk Me‘, it will do just that to every limb of your body. Enjoy!

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 25/04/07

We’re back with another installment of your favourite hip hop reviewing rollercoaster. I always talk about the weather in my introduction and I’m not going to change because until every single day is sunny and I can wear shorts to work every day, I’m going to bitch about the crap weather. It rained on me today, now tell me, what good can come of that?

Anyway, fresh off the back of seeing El-P demolish Dingwalls with one of the most exhilirating performances I’ve ever seen, Brother Ali do his thing at YoYos and TTC bring the French flair to the Scala, I’ve had some belting records to review this month and some not so good ones. So, onwards!

RECORD OF THE MONTH:
MARK RONSON – Version

(Columbia)
www.markronson.co.uk

Mark Ronson is going to release the biggest crossover album of the year, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. He has already made a name for himself with Ooh Wee and is currently storming it by producing Amy Winehouse’s surprisingly good album, but it is all just a foil for his new album, which features his own re-working of both classic and modern tracks.

Teaser track Toxic, a superbly streetwise cover of Britney’s best song, featuring the never-delicate-but-always-awesome ODB [remember, you can’t spell Bob Dylan without ODB!] was the perfect way to get people interest, though his cover of Just was obviously good enough to do that anyway. And currently single Stop Me, featuring his Allido protégée Daniel Merriweather is Stax-like maze of horns and typically Ronson-y drums.

Whether you’re listening to Lily Allen’s widegirl vocals of Oh My God, Amy Winehouse’s sultry tones on The Zutons’ Valerie or the instrumental explosion of God Put A Smile Upon Your Face [trust me, it’s a hell of a lot better without Chris Martin all over it], you’re going to find something to sing along to, dance to and enjoy yourself to. But the standout track for me, aside Ronson’s own interludes [if you like Snoopy, check out Inversion], is the jazzed up cover of Apply Some Pressure with Paul Smith singing over a remix of his own track.

This album is going to please everyone, from pop lover to indie kids, hip hoppers to parents, and it’s going to be a huge one. Make sure you’re part of the tidal wave that is Mark Ronson. He’s about to hit your ears like a Tsunami of epic proportions.

DJ KENTARO – Enter
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

When you’ve annihilated the world of turntablism, getting the DMC title with the best score in history, where do you go next? Do you whore out your skills on the decks and milk that dry or do you go on to produce a majestic album full of experimentation? Thankfully DJ Kentaro has chosen the latter, and Enter proves that he’s equally adept at production as he is on the turntables.

From the opening track, Enter The Newground, his scratching and worldly rhythms mesh together perfectly before following on into Keep On, a track featuring The Pharcyde which booms in with some deep piano rolls, pacy cymbals and hectic drums before once again Kentaro’s skillfull fingers do their thing. The single, reviewed in the last Mix, Free featuring MC Spank Rock is a buzzing club hit whilst stand out track Rainy Day, with New Flesh, delivers some bass dub which is currently knocking the burberry off the pikeys making trouble on the corner of the road, as I type this.

But don’t worry if you want to hear some of that award winning scratching, because One Hand Blizzard will feed your appetite and having you reaching for a bib as his cuts smash up the airwaves over the Japanese soundscapes underlying the ever changing beat. For the sake of your health, buy this record. It’s the SHIT.

TIMBALAND – Shock Value
(Interscope)
www.timbalandmusic.com

Timbaland is the producer of the moment in rap and rightly so. Rather than dredging out the same old beat over and over like The Neptunes do to constant misplaced acclaim, Timbo pursues new endeavours and constantly lays down beats that the rap game copies 6 months down the line. So with his tunes currently knocking the charts down with Nelly Furtado and Justin, his album was surely going to be a big player.

All good on paper, with the eclectic line up of guests showing his willingness to experiment, like bringing in The Hives, M.I.A., She Wants Revenge, Elton John and Fallout Boy. But as we know, it’s the music that makes an album, not the paperwork and, unfortunately for Timbaland, this album doesn’t live up to the hype. The single Give It To Me featuring Miss Furtado and Mr Timberlake is a good ‘un, but it falls down big time, not least because it stretches to 19 tracks.

Timbaland gets points for effort, but it just feels as though he was more concerned with showing his sphere of influence, getting in varied guests that actually penning decent songs. Keri Hilson brings in some nice vocals on the tracks she’s featured on, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Which probably means it’ll do great in the charts.

DJ FOOD & DK – Now, Listen Again
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Six years after their original mix tape, Now, Listen, DJ Food & DK are back showcasing their brilliant ability to bring together music from all over the place and form a coherent, fun mix. What kind of different music are we talking? How about mixing up Rakim with the Human League? Maybe a little New Order with New Flesh’s two step rhythms? Or even giving Roots Manuva a little DnB remix courtesy of Qemists?

Not only do they pick some absolutely stonking [yes, you heard me, stonking] tracks to throw into the melting pot, like Black Betty, Dans Le Club, Tarantula and more, but they are able to change the entire vibe of the album throughout without ever sounding contrived or glitchy. Starting off with hip hop, moving through rock and ending with drum n bass isn’t easy, but they do it seamlessly and if you are looking for a mix to put on before a night out, this is definitely one for you.

DEEKLINE & WIZARD – Deekline & Wizard Live
(Rat Records)
www.deeklineandwizard.com

The tagline reads “from Brixton to Brisbane” and, being a blatantly proud South Londoner, I wanted to see if they did my manor justice. However, having listened to it, I’m not really sure they have. With Skibadee on the opening tracks, I was immediately transported back to the late 90s as if I were in Ayia Napa listening to garage, which ain’t what I want to be hearing when I’m lounging on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Throwing in Stanton Warrior’s Get ‘Em High featuring Sway and a track featuring Rodney P could have been their saving grace, but the dance-based vibe of the tracks meant that you couldn’t get away from the same sounding beat throughout the album. From Brixton to Boring would’ve been a better tagline on this record.

REDMAN – Put It Down [single]
(Def Jam)
www.defjam.com

Redman is back with this new single, taken from his upcoming album Red Gone Wild. Put It Down is produced by the man of the moment Timbaland and the fuzzy backdrop certainly smacks of Timbo’s beat making. However, as pumping as the beat may be, it’s pretty monotonous and doesn’t ever really go anywhere.

Apparently there was a high buzz when the anime-inspired artwork for the album leaked onto the internet. This doesn’t really surprise me because after hearing this single, where Redman seems to be doing an impression of Ludacris from 3 years ago, the artwork must be more interesting than the music.

FLOSSTRADAMUS – Act A Fool [Single]
(My Space Exclusive)
www.myspace.com/flosstradamus

Let’s get it straight from the very start – on its own, Zombie Nation might sound shit. Especially when its played at Palace on a Saturday afternoon in a vain attempt to get us to pretend our season still has a purpose. And then we get onto Crunk, which basically sounds a bit naff unless you’re in a club with speakers the size of a small country vibrating your brain from pillar to post.

So how comes Flosstradamus‘ mash up of the two is fucking great? Well, maybe that’s something no-one will ever be able to answer, but basically the long and short of it is that this is a track that shouldn’t work, but really, really does. From Lil Jon and Three 6 Mafia giving it the “YAYUH” to the Zombie Nation bassline pounding behind the vocals, this is something that you’d love to hear in a club. You just won’t admit it.

Flosstradamus recently blasted the shit out of Cargo on the Catch An Attitude tour with A-Trak, Craze and Kid Sister and when you hear this and imagine it amplified a million times, you’ll understand just why they went down so well.

They also persuaded me I should buy a trillby. No, seriously, I’m gonna.

BLUE SCHOLARS – North By Northwest [Single]
(Rawkus)
www.bluescholars.com

Seattle’s Blue Scholars previous two records, their self titled album and the Long March EP set up forward thinking lyricist, Geologic and an adept beatmaker Sabzi as a group to look out for on the hip hop scene. With their summery tunes, they gathered critical acclaim from all over and finally took the step up by signing to the newly risen Rawkus alongside the much hyped Kidz In The Hall.

This track, North By Northwest, is taken from their forthcoming album Bayani and showcases all that is great about the duo. From the swaying brass through the heavy snare claps to Geologic’s bigging up of his home territory, this is a track that you’re going to be hitting the replay button on time and again.

“Two Scholars rock fresh” he says as the unrelenting tunes marches on and after hearing this four and a half minute blast of feel good hip hop, you’d be one hell of a fool to disagree. Bayani should make waves this year if this song is anything to go by, so keep those ears ready for more.

This month’s art comes from Eboy, who are a collective that specialise in high end pixel art.

Their pixelated versions of cities all over the world are absolutely brilliant, showing the city’s big sights as well as mixing it up with little characters getting up to all sorts in the nooks and crannies.

Here is Eboy’s London, the best city in the world. Have it.

So, that’s it for now, but there is always more where that came from. If you want to send me in your record, then please hit me up on the email address below. The summertime is coming, so let’s get those shades on, pasty white legs out, and our collective grooves on!

Until next time, peace.

Abjekt.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 09/03/07

Hello, good evening and welcome to another enthralling episode of the Mix. We have some treats for you this month. Some of them well known artists and some of them not so well known. I’ve had a few of them playing round and round in my car during these last few surprisingly sunny days. Summer seems to be on its way.

That means a lot more people out partying, fun days on the park, scantily dressed girls and ice creams. Ok maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. I need to distract myself from the excitement by showing a little enthusiasm about the quality tunes I have in my grasp. Here, have a look:

NNEKA – God of Mercy
(Yo Mamma / Four Music)
www.nnekaworld.com

Now we have already looked at Nneka’s album, but as I am so keen on the effort and skill put into producing such good music I thought it would be a good idea to let you all know that “God of Mercy” is being released on 12th March 07. It seems that I’m not the only one that thinks this is great music. Reviews from the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and even Mixmag have all given Nneka the thumbs up!

This is a hip hop track full of soul, has the supernatural sound of Portishead with a touch of energy and shows how music should be made. I can’t find anything wrong with this track, so in a strange way, I don’t know what to write about it other than the fact that you should seek it out when you can.

The art work on the cover is by Adopekid & Vektori. You can check them out at www.myspace.com/adopekid. You know how I am with people and there pictures. I like to let you all know what’s out there if I can.

KIDS IN TRACKSUITS – Get Your Kit on EP
(Dealmaker Records)
www.kidsintracksuits.co.uk

Yes that’s right. Dealmaker records have decided to bring back the KidsGet Your Kit On” EP a year after its release on limited edition 7″. The little records sold out in a number of days after their release. So someone, somewhere, made the clever decision to release the EP in an electronic downloadable form. This time with a supplementary pair of first-rate tracks and an additional remix thrown in for your pleasure.

In my opinion, “Uprock Theme” steals the show but I can’t fault the other tracks either. They’ve had me rocking for the past few weeks anyway. Soon enough the 7″ of this EP will be a hard to find record. So any of you lucky enough to own a copy, keep your tabs on it and make sure you play it on special occasions such as; weddings, formal dinner parties and Christmas dinners round at your grandparents house.
The sites are above, check it all out there! Download it at the Dealmaker site. Don’t forget! You snooze you lose.

GTA – Love is Here
(GTA)
www.myspace.com/gtaunderstand

This is more of an introduction than a review of a track. But, yes, I will give you a sniff of what is to come from this up and coming crew. I have seen their name scattered around in various places and decided that I should put their name out here. This one’s for all of you dedicated Crossfire readers. The crew consists of two MC’s: Chima Anya and Ineffable and currently works with one DJ – DJ Fu.

This EP provides us with a very positive outlook on life, looking at the bad and seeing how we can make changes. If you’re feeling thoughtful, it can give you a good insight into how to change your perception.

Some nice heavy beats, with a couple of MC’s that are full of life provides us with a pretty cool track. Yes, im up for this kind of stuff, why not. Check it out at the Myspace page above.

JOE BUHDAH PRESENTS: KLASHNEKOFF – Lionheart: Tussle With The Beast
(LowLife Records)
www.lowliferecords.com

This is a promo! Visit www.blahblahblah.com . When I opened the package with the new Klashnekoff album inside I was a tiny touch excited to listen to it and start to review it. To be honest it started off quite This is a promo! Visit www.blahblahblah.com good. Initially. However, after about half a minute this annoying voice over came on the cd and shouted at me much louder than the actual tune, can you guess what it said? That’s right! This is a promo! Visit www.blahblahblah.com.

So because of that I’ve decided to just write this. I couldn’t bare to listen to anymore of that rubbish so I’m afraid This is a promo! Visit www.blahblahblah.com you will have to decide for yourself on this one.
Annoying isn’t it.

To end my section of this months Mix I have decided to let you in to the world of some good stickers. It seems that people into hip hop, skateboarding, snowboarding or anything of the sort like to have a few stickers spotted around the place. Me included. I found this place and they sent me a good selection of stuff as an example of the kinds of things they sell.

Check them out here www.skateboardstickers.co.uk You can get some rare, vintage stickers here. Good for your skateboards, guitars, record storage shelves. All of that kind of thing. Well, that’s what I do with them anyway. Have a look, you know you want to.

And here we are again, the end of a special time together. Don’t worry though ill be back pretty soon with a whole load more tunes and delights to spoil you with. Now, over to the rest of the crew!

Special Guest Star Zac Slack recommends:

MARK RONSON – Toxic
(Columbia)
www.markronson.co.uk

Mark Ronson is a well known DJ, born in London who was swiftly packed off to NYC by his mum where he learnt to play records and now enjoys his routine slot on the East Village Radio called Hello Echo.

Last year he hooked up with vocalist Alex Greenwald and unleashed such a brilliant cover of ‘Just’ from Radiiohead you will ever hear with its voluptuous horn section and rework that had people clucking for a copy all over the UK.

Ronson is back this month with a 10″only release of a cover of Britney Spears monstrous pop hit ‘Toxic‘ and if you think that no one could take a cheesy pop track and make it sound cool as f*** then think again because it’s done – he even threw Ol’ Dirty Bastard in there!

Mark will release an album titled ‘Versions‘ in April that includes a killer cover of ‘Stop Me’ by The Smiths, ‘Oh My God‘ by The Kaiser Chiefs with Lily Allen on vocals and a bunch more. It sounds cheesy but once you hear these tunes and realise they are infectious, you will be searching for his stuff for the rest of the year.

Check out this stream over at Radio 1 of Ronson in the mix, it says everything if you like to party. You can find it at the bottom column of the page under the Evening session – Mark Ronson Essential Mix.

Joe Moynihan recommends:

CALVIN HARRIS – Acceptable In The 80s
(Fly Eye/Columbia)
www.calvinharris.tv

Claiming that he has re-invented disco music, backed up with his forthcoming album’s sly title, “I Created Disco“, Calvin Harris has produced some prime examples of success on a budget. Vinyl spinner and soon to be CD release, Acceptable In The 80s, is no exception. It contains all the synthesised beats and homegrown vocals you’d expect from a lad hailing from Dumfries in Scotland. Especially one who’s reminiscing about an era filled with skintight jeans and huge hair. Wait a minute…

This track does just that, paying homage to club bangers of the decade of cheese. While it seems self-indulgent at times, it’s a grower. I’m yet to decide whether this is a bad thing, but I must pay the man his dues for plugging a song into my head and sticking it on repeat for the past 4 days. Listen at your own peril! I’m almost certain that the nanosecond this song comes on in a club, my head will be relieved and I will bop along relentlessly feeling like a GOD. This is eau de fromage to the extreme, and as much as it pains me to say it, I love it.

The Jektmosphere.

Another month, another Mix. As the sun dares to peer over the clouds and I silently eye up my shorts, wondering how early in the year I can get away with wearing them, I’ve had some quality tunes plugged into my ears. Have a butchers below and see if there’s anything you’ll dig! Whilst I’ve got your attention, make sure you check out the Buzz Chart for all the freshness and if you haven’t already, go and read my interview with RJD2, its a cracker.

RJD2 – The Third Hand
(XL Recordings)
www.xlrecordings.com

First of all, the press release was right – this isn’t a hip hop record. That said, it is going into the Mix because RJD2 is great and I said so. This record perhaps won’t appeal to hip hop heads as much as everyone would have hoped for, especially since RJ veers further and further away from Deadringer and beyond his newer style on Since We Last Spoke.

You Never Had It So Good is the perfect example of what to expect from the rest of the album. Kicking in with some delicate keys and the soft voice of the man himself, the track hits you with some staccato pianos in the chorus and sways back and forth, a similar sound to Laws Of The Gods. Have Mercy is a track which is slightly reminiscent of his last album, with strong drums which are juxtaposed with the high range of his voice.

Beyond The Beyond is arguably the most hip hop track on the album, with its vocal samples and headnod potential and is my favourite track on the album. That said, the close runner up for me is the short Some Day which has some really nice harmony on it coupled with plucked guitar.

If you’ve never heard RJD2 before, you’ll dig this album. If you’re a huge fan of Deadringer, you probably won’t love this one so much. But RJ is clearly talented and his songwriting ability and layering on songs are brilliant, even if his voice can sometimes be a touch flouncy.

DJ KENTARO feat. SPANK ROCK – Free [Single]
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

So you’re one of, if not the, world’s best turntablists. So you’ve won the DMCs and can rock the shit out of every venue you play at with your unbelievably quick fingered skills. So what else do you need to be able to do? Well, if the answer to that question is “produce”, then Kentaro has just completed the clean sweep with this, the lead single from his upcoming album.

A club banger of a track, the fast paced Free brings a body winding bass in alongside some vibrating strings and mechanical snaps as MC Spank Rock does what he does best – rap about filth. Kentaro knows how to make a track work and this beat is the proof in the pudding. His album, which will also feature the Pharcyde, Fat Jon and New Flesh is going to be one hell of a ride.

RATATAT – Wildcat [Single]
(XL Recordings)
www.xlrecordings.com

With the current spate of electronica rising to the forefront of the music scene, there is undoutably some real shit about. Thankfully, there is also some brilliant stuff floating around and Ratatat are certainly one of the groups that fall into the latter category. Wildcat begins with the growl of a Jaguar and as the fuzzy bass mixes in with the high pitched guitar, you know you’re going to be in for a fun ride.

Halfway through the track, the pace quickens and the melody switches into gear giving you that perfect hook that you’re going to be humming to yourself for the rest of the week. This track is both catchy and long-lasting, setting it apart from a lot of the tracks you hear these days and its no fluke as the other track on the single, Swisha, proves in a more serene and defiantly understated way.

PLASTIC LITTLE feat. GHOSTFACE KILLAH, AMANDA BLANK & SPANK ROCK – Crambodia [Single]
(Anything Records)
www.myspace.com/plasticlittlerap

Plastic Little are awesome for two reasons – firstly, they have a track which compares a girl’s warm vagina to a KFC kitchen and secondly, their music fucking bangs. This track is a perfect example of what to expect from the Philly crew as the huge bass, twaning guitar and warbling submerged chorus sample knock themselves about your headpiece like a women’s rally at Wimbledon.

Then comes the deal clincher – the arrival on the record of Amanda Blank. Readers of The Mix will know I love her and my mates will also know it because I can’t shut up about how great she is, so when she brings her attitude into the track with talk of hand jobs and strap ons, you really can’t get away from her awesomeness. Spank Rock does his usual sterling job on the verse and completes this brilliant 12″. Pick this up QUICK.

BONDE DO ROLE – Solta O Frango [Single]
(Domino Records)
www.dominorecordco.com

Having seen this Brazilian group live, it was interesting to hear them on record. Their live show involved a heap of jumping around, loads of shouting and some amazing banging beats, and a hell of a lot of fun. And if Diplo says they’re the shit, then you’d better believe that’s exactly what they are.

Picked up by Domino Records, BDR have chosen a song which is translated as being Release The Chickens, and is an order for everyone to get up and party, not that you’d know that unless you speak Portugese… which I don’t. That said, I don’t need to be told when listening to this song, the sharp snaps and “Ole” style chorus had me out of my seat and pretending it was Carnival time in Streatham after 10 seconds.

For this month’s art you’re going to get a very simple message which comes in the form of the image to the right. It’s ludicrous to me that graffiti is considered a crime, with people getting banged up for so-called criminal damage longer than people who have committed serious crimes against people.

What would you rather see? A blank wall, or a colourful splash of vibrancy in your otherwise grey journey to work? I know what my answer is.

Right, that’s my lot for this update. I’m now going to go and consider whether a trillby hat will make me look cool or make me look like a right bellend. It’s hard being me. If you’ve got any music you wanna send my way, hit me up by clicking my name below. In fact, if you have any hat advice at all, click away and impart your knowledge upon me.

Until next time suckers,

Abjekt.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 12/01/07

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to The Mix. I cant believe its already 2007. I hope Santa brought you everything you asked for and that you haven’t already broken your new years resolutions. I haven’t started mine yet, I suppose it’s the same as everyone else’s: I do really need to sort my health out after so many days of Christmas abuse.

Meanwhile, I’ll be looking through some of the tunes that I seem to have missed out during the past few months. Thanks to the help of the splendid staff at Suspect Packages, I received some decent tunes from family members just because this illusionist/magician was born on December 25th. Quality!

Record Of The Month
KASHMERE – 20 Minutes of Chaos
(Receptor Records)
www.receptorrecords.com

Here he is again! Gaining more confidence with each release. Taken from the album “In the Hour of Chaos” which I haven’t yet heard. It’s a bargain at a normal price of a 12″ and it includes 6 different tracks, the best of which is “Spawn of Pazuzu” ft Severe and Dramacide. Of course this is all opinion.

20 Minutes of Chaos” is moody as hell and is not for the happy go lucky hip hop listeners. Not one for the dance floors, but definitely one for those that like to listen to skills and content. I like this one; it’s made me want to get the album anyway, so there you have it. Get this on in your car for a long journey or a space and time that needs filling and this will keep you occupied for its duration. Spot on. Nice production by Chemo once again!

BRAINTAX – Syriana Style
(Lowlife Records)
www.lowliferecords.com

Well, we’ve already covered the album “Panorama” so this is just a brief look at the second 12″ to be released. “Syriana Style” sticks to the general feel of the album. It focuses on world politics alongside a kind of offbeat tune. I prefer the B-side on this 12″ “Anti-Grey“. Its got the old eighties electronic sound to it and includes a sniff of an old eighties song as a kind of hook. Check it out and see if you recognise it. You probably will.

Anyway, Its well worth buying as Braintax tunes usually are and…. oh yeah, theres also a pretty good tune featuring Rodney P on t’other side of the record: “What the Huh??”. It’s £6.50 including postage if you order it from the Lowlife website.

SKIBADEE – Tika Toc
(Ahead of the Game)
www.aotgmusic.com

This tune is a big party tune, great for the dance floor in a big club. A funky tune and a catchy hook makes a quality tune to play out on a Saturday night. I’m in to this one, the quick flowing lyrics act as another instrument and improve the tune even more. There are quotes on the record sleeve that say DJ Yoda and DJ Skitz think this is a quality tune. If you don’t believe me, I think you should listen to them.

I got this one from the people that deliver suspicious packages to your door if or when you request them. Request this one.

TERRA FIRMA – War
(Central Foundation Records)
www.myspace.com/firma4life

War” is taken from the Terra Firma album “The Foundation” (which has already been released, I might add). Yep, good track. It has a military march feel to it. There’s a bit of aggression in there to keep you on your toes and get that blood flowing through your body. This tune mixes well into the Braintax tune “Anti-Grey” as mentioned above. The two just seem to fit nicely. You get the instrumental as a B-side so this can be good for you DJ’s out there as well. One worth having in my opinion.

Don’t forget to check out the Myspace pages above for more info and good tunes to listen to. I was quite impressed.

PITBULL – Bojangles
(TVT Records)
www.myspace.com/pitbull

I have put this tune on here because I said I would. This is Pitbull, he makes music that will never be played in my stereo again. If you like the type of music that has that build up like that Ice Cube tune “You Can Do It” (at least that’s what I think its called) then you’ll like this. Imagine some gansta bitch shakin’ her big booty and all that kind of crap and that’s what you’ve got here. Sorry everyone, but this song is pure banter! If you want to have a laugh, go on his Myspace page.

That’s my New Year instalment of the Mix, I think ill hand it over to Joe and Abjekt for now and I’ll see you all in a bit. Hope you like all of the tunes that I’ve been recommending for the past year. Drop me an email or send me a comment on Myspace. Whatever you like.
Cheers!

Kris Drew
www.myspace.com/krisdrew

PS. Here’s a roadblock I saw on my holidays. Thought it was a bit different.

See ya.

Joe Moynihan up in this bitch:

Record Of The Month
KELIS f. CEE-LO – Lil Star
(Virgin)
www.ultimatekelis.com

It’s an unfortunately rare occasion in the RnB genre for anyone to possess genuine variety. Artists cash in on what’s hot and focus their music one just one aspect of the genre with one branded sound. Whether it is a sweet, soulful voice or a raw, jagged husky rasp peppered with rebellious lyrics. Kelis is no such girl. Four albums down the line and she’s still pushing the boundaries on her singing abilities.

From the confident, flirtatious visage on debut single “Bossy” to the toned down, highly emotional and sublime current release “Lil Star“. Accompanied by the wonderboy of the moment, Cee-Lo of Gnarls Barkley, the two combine their superb voices to create a delightful burst of fresh air in a highly competitive genre.

It’s the perfect contrast to hubby’s aggressively awesome “Hip Hop Is Dead“, just think of the possibilities of the children! Before drifting away into a dream of urban super families that take over the globe, I’m gonna remind you how dope this track is. Kelis really shines on here, and I’m a huge fan of the so fresh and so clean Cee-Lo so this track was floating my boat from the off. Let me just say, he brings the fucking session on the chorus, so catchy! Taking away the bias it’s a shit hot single choice that you should get your teeth into. Best get the forks out for January 8th then kids.

2PAC – Pac’s Life
(Amaru Entertainment)
www.2paclegacy.com

Itching, right, is one of those weird everyday activities, like sneezing, that bizarrely comes equipped with a sense of pleasure. You wouldn’t have thought it at all, but it’s the bright side of having say, a nasty rash. Like a nasty rash, Tupac, despite being six feet under for a decade now, refuses to let his mark on the world fade. But like a nasty rash, it does come with a bright side. The bright side, like itching away, is hearing more and more dope albums comprised of unheard recordings from the man himself, mixed up with some rhymes from today’s hard hitters. This is one of the best post-mortem releases yet. Ol’ 2pac must have been one horny fucker with that microphone, as you’ll only recognise one verse from his previous albums. Saucy eh?

2pac kills it from the off. Always demonstrating consistent flow, rhythm and slick lines like a maths teacher busting logarithms. Except there’s one problem with 2pacs equation. That being some of the lame ass, crackerjack, waste cadet, sucker emcees alongside him that’ll have him turning in his grave. Although some respectable efforts are certainly deserved credit, the likes of Snoop Dogg (come on, why would he not be on there?), Ludacris, Ashanti and Krayzie Bone all keep momentum flowing alongside the Pac. You still can’t help but notice the tragic input of mandemz Mr Shakur wouldn’t be caught dead with (oops!). But even despite lacking the common advantage of being alive, he still manages to redeem the albums class by simply doing what Pac does best. Raw, dead good (arf!) talent.

2pac fans should not even think to hesitate in adding this to their collection, everyone should catch the drift now, it’s 2pac. Love or hate. Simple as brah.

JAY-Z – Show Me What You Got
(Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
www.jayzonline.com

A question I’m positive has been asked on many occasions is – “How many times must you re-introduce yourself Mr. Carter?” We all know his name by now; it’s not hard to dismiss one of the best, if not the straight up fucking Godfather of modern hip hop. Quitting again Jay-Z? Oh yeah? Pull the other one mate.

Slipping out of his retirement robe once again, Jay-Z teases his fans with debut single “Show Me What You Got” from the new album “Kingdom Come“. It was inevitability to the extreme, let’s face it, but I’ll forgive him, as he’s supa-fly like chicken pie. Jay-Z’s rhymes are viciously better than my attempts, and thankfully these aren’t completely absent from this slick gem. While he doesn’t unleash as many vocabulary hounds on us foxes as in previous singles, it still soars above his lesser competitors.

With Just Blaze on production duty we can expect a solid, pumping kettle of boiling beats. If there was anything to protect Jay from an assault of critics on his not-so-perfect-as-every-other-thing-he-has-touched lyrics it’s the instrumental backdrop. An army of brass acts like ecstasy on the brain, the trumpet score sieving through the fierce beat into your mind with the Jigga as your tour guide. While Jay may be showing his age, him and Just Blaze are definitely a winning combination.

It’s not difficult to criticise Jay-Z by looking at his ridiculous back catalogue, a portfolio that leaks talent over the floor, causing passers by to fall at his feet. Yes, this is far from his best work, and some may even call it disappointing. But don’t doubt the J-Man. It’s a teaser of what’s to come, and it’s still the cream of the mainstream hip-hop crop, and you know it.

FAT JOE – Me, Myself and I
(Virgin Records)
www.fat-joe.com

Fat Joe has been in the game (no, not the rap artist you filthy cunts) for many a moon now. A Latino homeboy with a tremendous brewery of experience in all aspects of the hip-hop culture. Dabbling with various big names from all over the spectrum, Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and Jennifer Lopez to offer a drop of ink on a novel full of collaborative success. In his latest, and seventh full-length offering, aptly penned “Me, Myself and I” he does his shit alone, and goes right back to his roots. This is straight up groggy, vicious, hostile rap.

From opening roller “Pendemic“, through late night beach jam “Breathe and Stop” and consistent throughout the entire album, Joey Crack provides relentless, aggressive vocals over the rim of a reassuringly mellow beat. This is a chilled album through and through, presenting you with a dope contrast against the gangsta rap lexis. Does the trick like David Blaine. Except Fat Joe doesn’t fuck his magic up from time to time. The Bronx Terra steps up to the occasion once again, proving he’s still up there with the top cats. Only having a couple collaborations on the LP being gold dust in hip-hop these days (G-Unit/Shady crew much?), it hypes me up to hear a quality, rock solid album from just one dred. Plus anyone who comes from a borough that has sneaks like the ones below made in its honour need nuff respect. Ya hear me blad?

I’ll happily trade in my shelltoes for a fresh pair of those. ST4ST?

That’s the lot from me this month. I’ve had my fair share of glitter and trauma music wise this month; let’s just say the good shit is on here, while Eminem and Fergie are in the bin, so to speak, literally. If you haven’t already dragged your mouse pointer over to Abjekt’s interview with Dutch mixmasters, C-Mon and Kypski and clicked furiously, then you best start doing so. It’s finger lickin’ good.

Stay safe kids.

The Jektmosphere

Another year gone, another comes flying on in. Over the past 12 months I had some fucking good shit to listen to, I saw some amazing concerts and I even appeared in a video [shut up, I’m milking that bitch for all it’s worth]. 2007 promises to hold just as much and if the majority of the releases I’ve reviewed this time around are anything to go by, it’s gonna be a banger.

Now then, let’s stop chit chatting and get on with the hip hopping.

Record Of The Month
MARS ILL – Old Ironsides

(Self Released)
www.marsill.com

After having their album Pro Pain put back for a couple of years due to legal wrangles, Mars Ill wanted to be able to give their fans something immediate, despite it being the same year as Pro Pain was [finally] put out. And so the album Old Ironsides was made available by the group to say thank you for the waiting and the continued support and with it coming in a rustic envelope with wax seal, you know it’s had a lot of effort put into it.

Mars Ill are, without a doubt, the most under-rated group in hip hop and have always done things consistently and to an incredible standard. Dust’s beats are always a joy to listen to, with his big booming drums and bluesy samples and as always Manchild’s lyrics are a spiritually intense and heartfelt as ever.

From the awesome twinkled lick of Learning Me to the aptly titled Barnstorming, the duo prove they’re worthy of the Record Of The Month crown from me. Stocks might not last long so make sure you head on over to their site and pick this gem up before it’s too late.

CECIL OTTER – Rebel Yellow
(Doomtree)
www.doomtree.net

When you release a CD so limited that you’re still pressing it up only hours before the biggest show of your career, you know it’s gonna be something a little bit special. Doomtree’s Cecil Otter managed to get his things together in time to have a limited run of his new record Rebel Yellow out at the Doomtree Blowout 2 recently and I’m damn glad he did.

The album takes both his production and rapping to another level, far higher than what was heard on his False Hopes CD and lyrically he is still as poetic and charming as he ever was. The title track on the album, combines a spectacularly comforting guitar loop with some fresh drums and cradles you into submission after the introduction and is continued throughout, with the stand out tracks being 1999…The Curse Of Gab, Sufficiently Breathless and 100 Fathers. But every song on here could be seen as a stand out, that’s for sure.

Cecil might say “they call me Rebel Yellow, but they don’t know me” but after hearing this, trust me, you’ll want to know him and every last second of this record. As if proof were needed that every member of the crew is absurdly talented, then this is it. Time to let it be known.

MK LARADA – Music For B-People
(Doomtree)
www.doomtree.net

Another Doomtree release that I picked up at Blowout 2, this was performed in parts during the interval of the show with Marshall spinning the finger-lickin’ good shit whilst the local breakers performed on stage. I would say that this CD puts the “fun” in funk, but that sounds corny as hell so I’ll leave that nonsense out. If you wanna strut your stuff, bounce your booty or just plain dance like you’ve got a scorpion attached to your nuts, this is the CD for you.

Plus you’ll get POS rapping over a Daft Punk jam and if that ain’t worth picking it up for, then you’re clearly an idiot. Yes, you. Now get that dunce hat off your nut and get over to the Doomtree store [ www.doomtree.net/store ] and rinse it for all its worth. Freshhhhh.

BRAILLE – Box Of Rhymes
(Hip Hop Is Music)
www.hiphopismusic.com

Braille has been bringing out quality hip hop for a while now, and this new release provides his typical blend of insightful lyrics and catchy beats. The record begins on a high with the second track, the Tony Stone produced Pour It Out and the following 2 tracks, I Wouldn’t Do It [featuring fellow HHIM labelmates Sivion, Surreal, Big Rec and Theory Hazit] and the infinitely happy sounding Everything’s Changed.

There’s a minor blip with Antenna with the RnB singing throughout but this is just a one off and the rest of the album continues on the high level Braille Brizzy always sets himself. He shows he can do the slower jams with Humility, the keyboards and guitar rounding his lyrics off brilliantly, and he also proves his worth on the upbeat fast paced Fresh Coast. But then, with Ohmega Watts on the beats for both of them, you can’t fail to enjoy the music.

This is an album for fans of easy to get into hip hop, the beats keep on rockin’ and the lyrics are definitely worth more than a few listens. Bump this in your stereo and it’ll be summer all year long.

TTC – 3615
(Big Dada)
www.bigdada.com

What is it about the French I love? Ok, so loads of my family are French and I feel as French as I do English, but they have this uncanny ability to bring out music that I wouldn’t like if it came from America, but love because of its Gallic swagger. TTC have always been innovative in their music and their new album, 3615, continues the trend even using the Hokey Kokey in a song.

This album brings around an electro-crunky type sound and shit as that may sound in principle, it works like you wouldn’t believe on record. Paris Paris, the DJ Orgasmic produced banger, is a homage to the city with bumping basslines and synth’d layers. The best song on the album though is [Pas La Peine D’apeler Je Ne Reponds Pas Au] Telephone – it’s a club hit if ever I heard one, forcing your legs to kick out, your neck to pop and even making it ok to break out the running man on your bedroom carpet.

Antenne 2 is a track which moves into the more electronica aspect of their work, with a softly spoken beat and bleeping melody featuring female vocals on the chorus. So whether they’re making club smashes, pop songs or even pseudo-grime numbers like Une Bande De Mec Sympa, they’re doing the business. Big Dada know what’s up, and so should you.

ECID – Biograffiti
(Fill In The Breaks)
www.fillinthebreaks.com

I was lucky enough to catch Ecid playing a show in Minneapolis when I was over in December and after only 3 songs of his set, I was persuaded to pick up his record. Needless to say it was a great decision because Biograffiti is a quality album, one which I urge you to pick up quicktime.

The brilliant Akmude Sallam serves a great message, lambasting how everyone simply assumed someone is a terrorist because of how he looks. The music compliments the lyrics perfectly and shows just why Ecid is such a great musician. He can bring it a little more upbeat too with the swaying Recovering Eco Enthusiasts Might Enjoy This and the winding Ordinary Freakazoid.

The eastern tinge of Tip Your Server booms out with Ecid saying “A wise man once said never bite the hand that feeds you, you might grow see-through”, and, whilst I might not be wise, I’m saying buy this record.

SATURDAY MORNING SOUNDTRACK – Saturday Morning Soundtrack
(Fill In The Breaks)
www.fillinthebreaks.com

Saturday Morning Soundtrack is the Minneapolis/St Paul collective featuring Ecid, and Impulse, Abzorbr’s Kristoff Krane, Hecatomb’s Capaciti. The record starts as it means to go on with the darkly warped Adopted Birth Defect, with the rappers all bringing their own flavour to the distorted plate.

The beats are all vying for the listener’s attention, such as Strangers, which sounds like it could be the soundtrack to some darkly lit thriller, never mind a Saturday morning and the energetic, busy DB Sweeney which flits from unnerving drum to persistent buzz in the background. With Eyedea guesting on the final track Play Dead Til They Kill You, you’re exhausted by the time you’ve reached the end of the CD. Easy listening it ain’t, but rewarding it certainly is.

ED209 – Stay Exstatic EP
(Voodoo Rhythm Devil Records)
www.superexstatic.com

209 is back with his third and final instalment of the Exstatic series, 2 years after having released Stillexstatic. With 4 vocal tracks being partnered later on with their instrumental versions, his beats give the platform to Kon, Cappo and C-Mone, to give their personal flow down.

Brass sampled Black Thorn Rose features Manchester rapper Konny Kon threatening to close your mouth like a bird cage but it’s the arrival of Cappo on Inside Your Mind and The Majestic which takes over the EP. Lyrically he’s tight and his flow is amped but it’s the way he connects with 209’s beats that make it that bit special. From female sampled vocals onto straight boom bap with jumpy guitar loops, 209 rides them really well.

The strength of the production comes to the fore in the instrumental versions, showing that they can stand on their own, without the need for rappers, as they have enough going on whilst still managing to keep your attention on the tune. It’s a good ‘un.

EDUCATED CONSUMERS – Steal
(Verizum Records)
www.myspace.com/educatedconsumers

I got given this CD of Maryland’s Educated Consumers by a friend whilst on holiday in the States and put it in the player knowing nothing about the group or their music. After the first track, Steal, had finished, I wanted to know a lot more. A distinctly energetic beat layered under the rapper’s flow works really well on the track and when second track Catch A Glimpse followed in with some funky piano styles, I knew this was one freebie that I glad I got handed.

The bumping Loud And Clear finishes off the CD [well, you get instrumentals too which is dope as the beats are quality] and both the producer t*E*C*K and the rapper Seezmics have done themselves proud on this record. Hit their myspace to experience it all for yourself. It’s well worth it.

YING YANG TWINS – Chemically Imbalanced
(TVT Records)
www.yingyangmusic.com

This is the new record from the duo that brought us Wait (The Whisper Song) which featured the chorus “Wait til you see my dick bitch”. Looking at the tracklisting on the back of the album, I saw tracks called 1st Booty On Duty, Big Boy Liquor and Jigglin, and I feared for my ears.

After having sat through this record, my ear drums are officially on strike and refusing to let me hear anything remotely like this. Apparently if they do, they’re picking up their shit and leaving my ears. Mind you, I’d rather be deaf than listen to this ever again.

AMON TOBIN – Bloodstone [Single]
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Amon Tobin has never been on to rest on conventional laurels and his new single, Bloodstone [accompanied by the tracks Esthers and Here Comes The Moon Man] certainly supports this claim. Tobin and his assistants went out on the streets with high sensitivity microphones, recording all sorts of sounds, from singing neighbours to ants eating grass, and then working them into the fabric of his music.

Bloodstone holds a haunting string arrangement which underpins the entire track, which begins with soft pianos, something which wouldn’t be out of place in a film like Goodbye, Lenin or Amelie, before leading it into the murky cacophony of bass-heavy drums. If this is any indication of the album, Foley Room, then it’s definitely going to be another great release from Tobin.

SHAMELESS f. LOWKEY & TB – Live Fast [Single]
(Dat Sound)
www.datsound.co.uk

Leyton’s Shameless has been labelled as the pioneer of the grindie scene by the NME. And we all know what I think of that rag. Regardless, this is a catchy track about not pissing about with your life, taking a chance and doing what you have to do.

It’s something that will no doubt do well on Channel U and might interest the indie kids who are feeling the likes of Marvin The Martian, but for hip hop fans, this isn’t up to scratch and will have you turning off before getting to hear the remix by Terror Danjah.

This month’s artist that I wanna big up is Madsteez. Colourful, funky and definitely fresh, I recently came across his work of Dennis Hopper – making a portrait of him after having seen Hopper’s own work as an artist.

It’s nice to see how he goes about making the piece and the reaction on Hopper’s face. Plus, if you pimp out his site, you get some badbwoy hip hop mix playing whilst you browse. Dope on a stick bitches.

That’ll do for now. You know the drill – hit me up on the email, listen to the shit I recommend, send me music, art, money, houses, hot broads, all that. Until next time suckers.

Abjekt

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 28/11/06

Hello everyone,

Hope the dark nights aren’t getting everyone down. I’ve heard there is a lot of S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) about recently. Well, it’s a good way to get out of going to work for a bit anyway. Even though, on the other hand it gives chance for you feisty youths to get some Graff on the walls of some nice, white, glistening houses in your area – And while you’re at it, you could have some of these top tunes on your mp3 or aac players to get your juices flowing and put a sparkle into your creativity.

Record Of The Month
VARIOUS ARTISTS – iYa Basta!
(Enough is Enough)
www.hijackthemedia.com

The Ya Basta Mixtape is a calling/soundtrack to the swelling globalization resistance movement, compiled without permission by Hijackthemedia.com. The term ‘Ya Basta’ comes from the Zapatista movement and is representative to the EZLN (Mexican army of national liberation).

This is a quality little snake in the grass that crept up on me whilst taking a leisurely stroll through the wilderness of Nottingham city and took a huge bite. Each track throughout the cd relates to political issues from all over the world. With snippets from George Galloway, Taskforce, Lost Project, Scorzayzee and Tony Blair, this collection of refreshing tunes and candid attitudes will allow you to take a run through the Gaza strip or the poppy fields of Afghanistan in your own living room.

For those of you that are lucky enough to have heard the Lost Projects album “Next Level Concepts“, there are some familiar bits and pieces of news and well known speeches that have been cut and sliced together to form an amusing and stimulating view of the world. Make sure you pay special attention to track 3! It really can make you realize that despite all of the political jargon, well fitted suits, propa English and ghost written speeches…..these people really are c*nts!

If you want to know more about this cd, or any other for that matter, make sure you get in touch with me here there’s plenty to go around if you can’t get where you want to be at the above sites. If you want a little sneak preview of one of the tracks take a look at my myspace page here!

There are lots of links for further reading into globalization and the ploys of the neo con power hungry terrorists.

www.zapatistas.org / www.dissent.org.uk / www.indymedia.org / www.newint.org / www.mexicauprising.net

KYZA – The Experience
(Pepa records)
www.kyzaexperience.com

I’ve been buying this guy’s singles on 12″ for some time now and was wondering when the full shabang was going to fall on the mat next to my front door. Ok so it came out in October but I had already sent through Octobers Mix by the time it arrived. So don’t start emailing me abuse saying that you could have been told before and already had an earful of this red hot album. Shit! Kyza has some pretty chilled beats with some lightning quick flows, and if I’m honest, that’s not always my favourite kind of tune. However, Kyza rips it up that impressively that I definitely can’t grumble.

One of my particular favourite tracks is track 3 “Real” and as a special treat there is part two of “Real” later on in the album. A nice fat bass line, head noddin’ beat and an insistent tone to Kyza’s lyrics create a vivid picture of the streets of London.

If you like your Terra Firma, Klashnekoff and Skribblah then this is unquestionably a cd for you! Check it out! You can hear bit and bobs of these tracks on the suspect packages website.

DJ YODA – Wheels
(Antidote records)
www.djyoda.co.uk

I saw DJ Yoda at Sonar 2005 in Barcelona and he did a quality set involving cutting and scratching videos, displayed on huge screens. Anyone that has been to Sonar night knows how big those rooms really are. Ever since then (and quite a bit before) I have been well into this stuff. “Wheels” is taken from the album “Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda” and is an extremely funky track, quite up beat and good for playing out on a Saturday night. Believe me it has been tried and tested. There’s some funky little scratches to get you smokers off your seats and onto the dance floor. This track also mixes really well into any up beat tunes you DJ’s may have in your bag of tricks for the evening. Go on try it.

I particularly like the B side to this 12″ “Tip Toe“. Another great up beat track to play out. This tune does give room for a little bit of scratching yourself and allows you to show off your own skills and acts as a great accompaniment. It might even disguise those missed clicks!! Sneaky I know. The strange thing about this 12” is that I bought it in a famous music shop named by three letters, first one being H. I rarely find anything good in there but this fun and terribly well designed cover just jumped out at me while I was hunting for Christmas presents. That always seems to be the way it goes. Just buy presents for yourself, that way no-one can get it wrong.

DR OCTAGON – Trees
(Buttercuts)
www.buttercuts.co.uk

Just a quick look at this one because we have already had a good look at the album in August. Most of you that are interested in this will have heard this tune if you’ve heard any. Yes, this is a very serious track although it is approach in a very lighthearted way. You can see the video that has already broken through to MTV play lists here!. This is the second single to be released from “The Return of Doctor Octagon“. The single features remixes from The Quemists, bringing in the touch of drum ‘n’ bass to the renowned vocals of Kool Keith, and the illustrious Spankrock who somehow manage to enhance the tune with a perverse electronic blend.

There we have it. This single is to be released on the 27th November and after that date I would really like to hear what you people out there have to say about this tune. I have mixed emotions about this one. You know where to get at me.

KINDER ATOM – Soft Hand Feel
(Nice and Smooth)
www.nicesmooth.com

Ok, this one is a bit different to what I would normally take a look at but hey, if we all listened to the same music everyday we would turn into one sort of music listening type people thingyamajigs. Plus, you get a DVD with this one. Yep, the extras got me this time.

I like this CD. This is one for all of you out there that like to sit and chill to the likes of Future Sound of London, Boozoo Bajou, Gotan Project or dZihan & Kamien. Shit! Maybe I should start writing reviews for that kind of music. Anyone wants to send me some chilled stuff for review, go ahead. Anyway, some strange eerie sounds coming out of the speakers allow me to write my reviews accurately tonight and will more than likely help send me off to bed. Just check out the videos at the link written above and you will see what I mean. Track 4 “Bubble” has been my favourite up to now, so check that one first to see if you’re up for it.

The DVD in this pack features 7 different music videos by various Toronto film directors. These visual interpretations of Kinder Atom’s music welcome you into a world of nature and spectacular imagery. There is a very old copy of FSOL’s “Lifeforms” video going on ebay at the minute. This gives you a whiff of how these movies have progressed over time. These videos are particularly good.

Previously sharing labels with Kraftwerk, System 7 and FSOL, this release will mark the first sincerely independent album from these veteran players in the electronic music scene on their own Nice And Smooth label.

I like it. I think you will too!

That’s enough from me for now. I’m going to hand it over to the new boys before Abjekt takes it on! But I’m just going to leave you on this note. Easy!

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

L. MAN – Impatiently Waiting
(Self-Released)
www.ldotman.com

The Grime game is a hectic one where everyone rates their 16 Bars as being the shit, but to quote many an MC; most of it’s a “Hype ting!” You see, to stand out from the crowd you’ve got to be smart, agile with the flow and ready to mock yourself in front of the crowd if necessary. L. Man has all of these qualities, and they are put to use on his latest mixtape Impatiently Waiting free for download once you sign on at www.ldotman.com

L. Man’s lyrics go deeper than your average fake gun talk because he throws elements of day to day life realities in his lyrics: ex-girlfriends, fast food, TK Maxx, life on the dole, losing a friend (Gavin) etc… But don’t get the wrong idea! This white boy from South London can come with some harsh, dark lines just as quick as he can serenade the pants off a young lady. Impatiently Waiting is loaded with multi-facets that blend live freestyle’s from some of the biggest Hip-Hop DJ shows ( Westwood and Semtex), and heavy hits that are getting heavy rotation on road (Spun A Web remix feat Big Narstie, Shystie, Solo and Demon and Fly with me remix Wifey Riddim). Add to that the perturbed mind state that lends itself to dark broodings and comedy alike (Lyrical Ejaculation and Driving In My Mum’s Car). This mix of emotions and experience, imagination and pain, is what makes L. Man’s new mixtape smack so hard.

Joe Moynihan

LLOYD BANKS – Rotten Apple
(Interscope Records)
www.lloydbanks.com

W-w-w-weet unit! Oatibix is the new hobnob alternative to everyone’s favourite morning feast, Weetabix. It’s basically exactly the fucking same as Weetabix but, wait for it, made with oats! Tastes like SHITE.

You may wonder why I’m throwing ludicrous information about wholegrain breakfast cereals in your grills. Unfortunately it’s a lot more interesting than what can be said about bad muhfucka, Lloyd Banks latest release, Rotten Apple. As the title suggests, the album is like a mighty fine idea, but gone a bit stale. That’s commercial gangsta rap for y’all I’m afraid to say. There’s no full blown flaws with this album I must point out, but it’s all be done, had the sloppy seconds and even the mutilated thirds, and is so tiresome I struggle to admire the genuine flow and style that Banks possesses. Which is a shame. He does manage to shed some good light on the album though in tracks like “The Cake” and “Hands Up”, both featuring equally bad muhfucka, 50 Cent. Both of which offer that club friendly commercial rap groove that you can’t help but dig, even if you wouldn’t wish to admit it.

I don’t particularly enjoy giving highly negative reviews, but with stinkers like this and Oatibix (which I was actually quite saddened by to tell you the truth), I didn’t have much of a choice, unless Lloyd was to introduce my skull to his smiling Cheshire gat. Though I did read an article on good ol’ Crossfire recently about Lloyd’s run in with the pigs. He managed to promote his album even then, which is damn good work in my books.

THE PACK – Vans
(Up All Nite Records)
www.thepackonline.com

Following in the footsteps of Pharrel and more recently Lupe Fiasco, The Pack are a sly underground hip-hop crew that incorporate their passion for rollin’ on planks into their music. Recent single and surprise mainstream banger, ‘Vans’, see the Californian dudes in the hood spitting the praise of those, ever popular, waffle-soled shoes. Represent homeboy.

No tomfoolery here, the beat hits you straight up like a double shot of absinthe after brunch. A smooth, pulsing baseline that infiltrates those little muscles in the back of your neck, and like gentle peer pressure, makes it nod back and forth whether you like it or not. Lay that alongside solid rhymes with subtle, unique flow and you’ve got yourself a winner. It’s nice to see influence grabbed from the Beastie Boys present too, with what sounds like Stephen Hawking giving his best chipmunk impression in between each lyricist’s verse. Which, seriously, is catchier than a baseball glove. These dreds know what they’re doing. And they do it hotter than the weather in CA. Big heads up in Vans must be super stoked on advertisement like this, I may even go buy a fresh pair of old schools myself. ‘Vans’ is featured on The Pack’s upcoming EP “Skateboards 2 Scrapers“, which should be ready wrapped for crimbo time. Add it to your list kids!

The Jektmosphere

I’m not gonna beat around the bush this month – I’ve had some of the best albums all year in this month and you’re in for a treat if you check out what I’ve got for you below. I’m a lucky little hip hopper as I’m jetting back to Minneapolis to check out the Doomtree Blowout on December 2nd, so keep your eyes peeled for a review of that going up next month, and make sure you pimp all the other reviews up on the site. Also, be sure to check out an upcoming DVD review, which’ll be on the site soon, looking at the Minneapolis hip hop scene.

Right, on with the show, first up:

Record Of The Month
C-MON & KYPSKI – Where The Wild Things Are
(Penoze)
www.c-monandkypski.nl

Let me start off by saying this – This album is my record of the year. From start to finish it’s an exceptional piece of work, shooting all over the place to bring in so many different influences and musical explorations and yet comes out the other side as the most together album I’ve heard in the whole of 2006. C-Mon and Kypski, from Utrecht in Holland, had already won me over with their Vinyl Voodoo and Static Traveler albums, but this is just another leap up from their already high standards.

The opening track features the great Sadat X who brings his individuality over their bass-heavy, horn led beat before flowing into the pop-tastic Bumpy Road which will have you singing along with the “bah be-bah baaah baaah baaaah” immediately over what could easily be a fuzzy Queens Of The Stone Age guitar riff. Sliding into the next track, Circus C-Mon & Kypski, is the sort of music Gogol Bordello would make if they were into hip hop and you could easily imagine cossack dancers flicking their feet out all round you.

Emcee Pete Philly makes a welcome appearance on Make My Day, the album’s clear summer joint, with its bouncy bassline and exquisitely catchy guitar melody and they even cater for more guitar fans with Eyes On The Road [featuring Voicst]. On both these songs, you can see that not only are this duo brilliant producers, but also great song writers, who would be at home anywhere musical, not just behind some decks.

But for those who want some straight up hip hop, you must check out Chemical Mixture, my personal favourite track on the album. I’ll be brutally crass here – this song is a fucking banger. From the turntable work to the snap of the drums with the “I’m dangerous, like a chemical mixture, if you mix me up wrong homeboy I’m gonna getcha getcha” sample riding over it all, this is one track will be reloading time after time. More turntablism can be found amongst the fuzz and deep rooted dance flavour of Wildfire whilst Spirits High and In And Out Of Days will capture the imagination of the jazzy, laid back fans.

There’s not one track on this album that doesn’t make me feel something, and that’s a rarity these days. But C-Mon & Kypski have managed it, even when they bring in vocalists, something they haven’t done a great deal of on previous albums, and that’s a testament to their experimentation, talent and control of their art. Absolutely 100% brilliant. Buy it now before I send the boys round.

PIGEON JOHN – …And The Summertime Pool Party
(Quannum)
www.pigeonjohn.com

Pigeon John is the most fun rapper on earth, it’s basically as simple as that. The rapper, who has put out songs about having an identity crisis and a goat named Sam is back with his new album, his first for the Quannum label, which is home to Lyrics Born, Lifesavas and more.

Pigeon John has always had feel-good beats behind his raps and this new album steps it up a level, with the likes of DJ Rhettmatic, Dnae, Chris James and RJD2 stepping up to the board with their own styles that John flows over with his inimitable happy-go-lucky steezo. With subject matter on this album ranging from losing his job [I Lost My Job Again] to thinking back to the early days of hip hop [Growin’ Old], John always manages to put a smile on the listeners face.

The standout track on the album is The Last Sunshine, which features the production of RJD2 and the guest vocals of J-Live and provides a chorus which ends with “A cold old man that was once a child/ I just wanna tell you I miss you”. Even with tracks like these, Pigeon John is able to use his delivery to give you that feeling that maybe things will be alright in the end.

And with this album being one of the best hip hop records of the year, I think we all know that it will be alright – so long as we do the pigeon dance!

ABZORBR – Capable Of Teetering
(Self Released)
www.abzorbr.com

Capable Of Teetering is an album soaked in poetry-led music, a record that you have to repeat over and over again just to pick out that extra note, that last drum hit and to experience totally every word that vocalist Kristoff Krane delivers.

The opening track, Sleepy Dreamer, lays the foundations, with its busy combination of laptop sounds and live instrumentation as Krane rapping as if he simply HAS to get every last word out before slipping into singing that makes the words sound as if they are melted together. This happens again in Private Permission when Krane begins with an intro that conjures images of a man cowering in the corner of a room, trying to rid himself of demons, with a deep bass line swimming under ever-changing backgrounds as Krane then goes back to his singing.

Another standout track on the record is Thorn Picks Rose, with an almost-carnival like beat as the song sways along building into a cacophony of sound, the harsh drums bringing the noise to a brilliant point before the track grinds to a halt and falls into the She interlude.

Abzorbr can do twilight-lit slow tracks, they can do fast action packed tracks [proved brilliantly by Childish Perfection] and they can even fall into fuzz-induced seizures as they do in the uncontrollably compelling 1st Song AbzorbrEver Recorded To Save Your Life. All in all, this is an album which showcases amazing talent, with all 3 members doing their utmost to make each track as rounded but still as raw-sounding as they can. Awesome.

KILL THE VULTURES – The Careless Flame
(Jib Door)
www.killthevultures.com

Kill The Vultures’ previous album was a journey through darkly lit alleys, winding around pounding percussions and captivating lyrical prowess. And this new album isn’t just a continuation of this, but a step forward, pressing through more musical landscapes.

Moonshine, the opening track, incorporates deep drums with an industrious bass line as the vocals tag teams with gritty saxophone samples. The next track, Dirty Hands, jumps straight into fast paced percussion as the energetic rapping pushes on through the ever-penetrating music.

But it is tracks like Days Turn Into Nights which give this album such an edge. The Spanish guitar twangs around the narrative, almost daring you to expect a beat to join the fray, but the beat never does, and that gives the lyrics a more powerful stance as it is the delivery of them which gives the track its beat.

Vermillion is another stand out track, with the busy off-kilter drums and cymbals threatening to topple the sweetly-strung melody. The use of the upright bass in many of these songs also provides that extra lilting twist to the music and combining all these elements, from leftfield hip hop to avant garde influences, makes The Careless Flame a bold album. Not for the faint hearted but one that will burn deep once you give it the chance.

DJ JAZZY JEFF – Hip Hop Forever III
(Rapster Records/BBE)
www.rapsterrecords.com

Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped, turned upsid… Oopsy, got carried away there for a second. Everyone knows DJ Jazzy Jeff, even if they’ve not seen the great man on the decks – Fresh Prince or not, the man is a big talent. And so who better than him to step up for the latest edition of the Hip Hop Forever mixes?

A mix CD’s success is based on the both the tracks used and the way they’re moulded together. The first part of this was an easy tick in the box, as, looking down the tracklist, I spied Biz Markie, The Pharcyde, Big L’s Ebonics, J-Live, Royce Da 5’9″‘s Boom and of course Jay Dee. So slipping the CD on, it was then a case of seeing if the man behind the boards could make them all mesh together well, and, in short, he can.

From the moment you hear Biz’s “Don’t go to Getty, go to Exxon” played out and bring reloaded over and over, it’s obvious that you’re gonna be partying down to this mix, especially when it seamlessly slides in Passin’ Me By. The same applies all the way through, like when Gangstarr’s Full Clip states “Big L rest in peace” and soon after knocks out that club banger Boom. If you listen to this and don’t bounce, you have no mojo sucker.

SLEEPY BROWN – Mr Brown
(Virgin)
www.sleepybrown.com

I’m trying hard to find something good about this record but its pretty painful sitting here listening to it. Sleepy Brown is the guy with the huge shades that sings the RnB stuff on the odd Outkast record, so I put this in hoping for at least the innovative mish-mash of styles you get with Outkast, but no. I’m sitting here listening to bland tune after bland tune and I just can’t pick out anything positive about it.

Even when Outkast do make an appearance, on the final track of the album – I Can’t Wait – it’s the same dirge being served up. The title at least is correct, I can’t wait for it to finish so I can stick something else on.

SPANK ROCK – Bump (Single)
(Big Dada)
www.bigdada.com

Spank Rock are nerds that rap about dirty stuff. If that’s not a reason to love it, then just listening to the music sure is. Let’s pick out a line at random to prove how cool they actually are:

“Honey, honey, see me, behind my Gameboy, I got game girl, it comes easy”

The single, taken from their awesome album YoYoYoYoYo, is a booty-shaking cracker of a disco fuelled hip hop song, with some cowbell thrown in on the beat for good measure. But let me be perfectly honest here, as much as I like this song, is the appearance of Amanda Blank on guest vocals that tips it over the edge. In one of the remixes (the Switch Remix), which features the uncensored vocals, she says:

“Thighs squeezing, pussy teasing… I like my ass sassy, I keep my man happy coz I ride like Kelly Bundy, I keep that shit nasty.”

It’s a great track. And it has nothing to do with me fancying Blank. Honest.

JOE DRISCOLL – Origin Myths
(Buttercuts)
www.joedriscoll.net

Joe Driscoll brings together the worlds of folk and hip hop together with a fusion of music that gets that foot tapping as he beatboxes and raps his way through this 8 track record.

The beats are done with a backdrop of instruments layered over his beatboxing and this album is made better as a result, as it gives it that extra dimension as Driscoll winds his way around his own rhythms. Vision Strong, for example, seems to have 3 or 4 layers of beatboxing behind his singing style raps and his deep throaty bass in the title track certainly proves he isn’t a run-of-the-mill performer.

With a DVD coming with the CD, which includes an introduction to Driscoll and a live performance, you get a better idea of what makes him tick and how makes his original music. Well worth checking out.

So that’s your lot for music reviews, and now onto the art. I’m going back to someone I’ve already featured on here previously – my mate Gav. Gav, from Jam Factory, is without doubt one of the most inspirational and yet fun artists I have come across and this month I was able to see him do his thing at the 20×2 show.

20×2 gives people from all points of the spectrum – web design, comedians, journalists etc – the chance to get up and answer a question in 2 minutes. For the show’s London debut, the question was “Where Am I?” and Gav’s original and perfectly executed answer can be seen by clicking right here. He is so much Abjekt Approved that he’s going to be doing some art for my new flat, can’t say any better than that!

Also a big shout out to Kevin Newsum for bringing 20×2 over and making it such an enjoyable experience. You can check the site out at www.20×2.org.

That’s it for now, make sure you rap up warm [see what I did there?] and get on those emails to slag me off or tell me what an awesome judge of music I am. Until next time sweetiepies, adios.

Abjekt.

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 10/10/06

Well, there have been a lot of artists and record labels putting in a load of work to get their new 12″ singles, albums and CD’s out on the market this month. We have a shed load of things to wet your appetite for my 12th month at Crossfire. (Happy Birthday Kris! – Z-Ed)

For those of you that haven’t quite got your heads on, that’s one whole year I’ve been at Crossfire already! We are starting with one that I’ve been waiting for since the last album came out in November 2001…..Yes, you guessed it!

BRAINTAX – Panorama
(Lowlife Records)
www.lowliferecords.co.uk

This one is soon to be released on Lowlife Records…. on the 23rd of October in fact. “Panorama” takes a widespread and extensive look at the world including cultures, politics, and the hip hop scene on a whole. This album attempts to make us take a step out of our usual dreary seats, think outside the box and give us a different focus. “Panorama” definitely hits on subject matters that are not often found within the realms of a hip hop cd. “The Grip Again” has detailed views on the world and environmental concerns, while “Anti-Grey” ft. Dubbledge investigates race issues and home affairs. Interludes between tracks include harrowing speeches from journalist Robert Fisk and George Galloway that act as a great accompaniment to the view of the rest of the album.

Anti war, pro multiculturalism, a somewhat left wing political view, anti Thatcherism. How could you possibly go wrong? You can go out and buy the double A sided new single “Run the Yards/Last Tenner” right now. It was released on the 2nd of October. It’s a good sniff of what’s to come. If you buy it from the Lowlife website you will receive a 12″ signed by Joey Brains himself!

FOREIGN BEGGARS – Stray Point Agenda
(Dented Records)
www.dentedrecords.com

Voted best group and winners of best single at the Lyric Pad Hip Hop Awards 2005, Foreign Beggars, if you have been missing for the past few years and somehow don’t know, are a 5 man crew that comprises of rappers Orifice Vulgatron and Metropolis, DJ Nonames, Beat Boxer Shlomo and Producer Dag Nabbit.

This album is another banger that you can already buy from the Dented Records website on vinyl or cd. As usual, there are some great tracks on this one. “Confessions of a…” is one that stands out for me. There is some nice word play and top flows throughout this track. “Stray Point Agenda” brings in the recently released “Slow Broiled Ilk” which also includes “Let Go“, two tunes that I have been playing out for a few months now. I’ve just been waiting for this bad boy to arrive on my doorstep. I’ve found that it’s perfect for those funky bars that people tend to love to go to. And lets be honest those types of bars have the hottest girls in them. So DJs! Get to work and share another spot on album from the Beggars with everyone else!

MANAGE – Live In Protest
(Merciless Records)
www.myspace.com/expectnomercy

This album was sent to me as a surprise. I don’t know who sent it or where it came from but it definitely did impress me. This album was released on the 1st of September so everyone out there can get their grubby little hands on it now. “Live in Protest” has quite a dark feel to it; you can often hear the sounds of an eerie organ throughout a number of the tunes. The entire album has been produced by Chemo. Chemo has worked with some of the most talented artists in both Britain and America; Kyza, Yungun, Verb T, Jehst, Kool G Rap, Rass Kass…….The list goes on and on.

The flows that Manage spits are powerful and can leave you knocked back into your seat at the worst of times. The album is also enhanced with some knock out artists and some quirky little samples that we all know and love. You can have a sample listen to this album at the myspace website written above. So check it out and go buy it. Its £5 for the cd and £7.50 for the double album. What a bargin!

MOLE & IRIS – An Introduction
(Self Released)
www.brightonhiphop.com

There is some dope artwork from delarge, dope production from evil sun, 184, biji, cuth, ido, steve clear, and iris, dope cuts from g-petz and daps, dope guests including, well, Mole and Iris… All in all its a good little introduction to the type of music they make but they say that they know its not perfect but any feedback would be appreciated… I think that they are under cutting themselves a bit; this is a good introduction album.

They have that definitive Brighton sound to them, which I must add, that I really like. I first heard of Mole & Iris on the 2005 Brighton Hip Hop Festival CD with a track called “Inheritance” a nice chilled tune with largely intelligent lyrics and a subject matter that makes a good observation of problems that have arisen from past events in society. Pretty damn good really. If you like your Dr Syntax, Elemental or Koaste then grab yourselves a copy of this. You can get a copy for £3 if you go here and drop them a line. Alternatively, if you buy your stuff from Suspect Packages they are sending this out with any orders that you make while they last.

LOW BUDGET SOUL – Strangers to the Ordinary
(Futuristica Music)
www.myspace.com/lowbudgetsoul

Ok, this CD doesn’t quite fit my usual remit but you people out there need to know about tunes that not only I like, otherwise we wouldn’t get anywhere would we. I’ve been sent a bit of info on this CD so I tell you what I know about them. Lead vocals are supplied by Randolph Matthews who has sent his talents to a whole host of projects over the past few years including NSM, TY & Gum Drop. His smooth delivery really does compliments the rough edged, sample led beats of producer Tris “ol English” Browne whose off the wall and yet soulful creations draw comparison to the music of Madlib, the late J-Dilla and Pete Rock.

So there you have it! These people have worked with some other amazing artists that are world renowned. This shows how good they really are. This CD is one for sitting at home with the ladies, cracking open the wine and turning the lights down low. Unless of course, you like the type of girl that likes happy hardcore blasting out on a week night.

Already receiving huge support worldwide from Giles Peterson, Patrick Forge, Mad Mats, Dirk Rumpff, Giant Step…..I just feel like im name dropping here! Nevertheless, “Low Budget Soul” are staking their claim for notoriety as a classic future soul act.

BLACK GRASS – Oh Jah ft. Marnyah [Single]
(Cat Skills Records)
www.black-grass.com

This is a continuation of releases from the Black Grass album A Hundred Days in One. Following the success of the single “Don’t Leave me This Way” Black Grass have decided to drop this heavy track right on top of your heads, “Oh Jah“!

This track gives a feel of happy summer days with a funky reggae vibe to it. Featuring rising reggae MC Jah Mamyah on the vocals, this tune has a catchy hook and has all of the attributes of any good times classic. Mex’s up tempo beats, a heavy bass line and some harmonious trumpet action help to emphasize Jah’s top quality lyrics. There are a few remixes on the single courtesy of The Nextmen and Mr Trick. Also included on the single is “Lucha Contra De La Injustica” Which you could find on my myspace page a couple of weeks ago. Every so often I put some good tracks on there so take a look. www.myspace.com/krisdrew Add me if you wish, nothing wrong with a bit of networking. Anyway, Great tune!

That’s that from me, Kris Drew, this month, on to a couple of new additions to the Mix before Abjekt’s look at the world of music.

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Eye Of The Tiger Vol 1
(True Tiger Recordings)
www.truetiger.co.uk

I know this Mix CD has been out for a while, but trust me it’s one of the strongest records on road in a while. This record focuses on the Scandalous Unlimited crew but there are loads of cameos by some of Grime’s biggest names. These guys slowly leaked hit after hit on the airwaves and clubs creating a whole lot of hype and a demand before the product was finished. Main man on the buttons, Stanza, lost his hearing just weeks before the deadline, so things got delayed a little but this only served as more anticipation for the debut stormer, Eye Of The Tiger Volume 1.

The Scandalous Unlimited crew counts the talent of conscious lyricist Purple, amazing vocalist Ny, quick spitter Ghetto, crooner Shyam and pushing buttons is Wretch 32. Add to this incredible line-up the talent of Wiley (who was cornered in Copenhagen and dropped his bars in one day – Boom!), Bearman, Aftershock crew, Skepta, Virus Syndicate, L Dot Man, Doctor, Plan B, Bruza and more, and you know this CD is heavy!

To drop a few of the hits that blew up on the radio and in the raves are Ny’s Fire, Wiley’s unstoppable WD25 Freestyle, Purple’s provocative Blowin’ Up, Doctor and Bearman juggling funny rhymes for Let It Go and Purple, Plan B and Doctor killing the mad samples of Broken Wings.

Basically Eye Of The Tiger Volume 1 can get played from start to finish, and then repeated over and over without trouble. It’s sick to see the quality Stanza and the True Tiger camp managed to produce out of a garden shed in Watford. Since this dropped, no Mix CDs have come close. Expect to see Volume 2 drop soon.

ESKIBOY [WILEY] – Da 2nd Phaze
(Boy Better Know Records)
www.myspace.com/eskiboywiley

Wiley is the Godfather of Grime- a UK musical genre that mixes garage MCing with twisted Hip-Hop beats. It’s pretty unique, and if you’ve got your ear to the street, then you know the yoot are loving it more than the mainstream American rap tunes, and Eskiboy over here is holding down the fort at Top-Spitter.

Basically, the Grime game is a rough one because the competitiveness between MCs and their crews can go beyond the simple battle rap, even though physical violence is not a good look and hinders the artists getting shows booked etc. Da 2nd Phaze is Wiley’s second album after a good few years hiatus from his debut Tredding on thin ice (2004). Released as a mixtape of sorts, Wiley has produced an album that is chock full of street anthems. From the controversial number one hit on road Gangsterz, the raving favourite Eskiboy, to the Rza-esque production of Story Weather, passing through the emotional melody of Mystery Girl, it’s all here and banging.

Wiley is a real busy guy, and after having a daughter and turning 27, the ‘E3 boy’ has decided to step it up a knotch. This second album really is the signal for a second phase of sorts, with Grimes Godfather signing on Big Dada Records and several new mixtapes hitting the streets as we speak (Tunnel Vission, Crossfire Vol.1, Flame Grilled Whopper Vol.1…).

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

LUPE FIASCO – Food And Liquor
(Atlantic Records)
www.lupefiasco.com

Fresh out the windy city of Chicago, Lupe Fiasco has gained recognition from some of Hip Hop’s greatest connoisseurs, including Sir Jay-Z himself. Understandably so as debut ‘Food and Liquor’ stands tall against any recent competition. Chilled and tight production provides a sly undertone to the witty, fresh lyricism, notable on single “Kick, Push“, a song dedicated by the man himself to good ol’ wood pushing. Crossing the divide between rap and skateboarding has been an often attempted, yet unfortunately often miserably failed scenario.

Lupe pulls it off with class, resulting in a slick beat and a catchy hook with not the slightest odour of fromage, well, maybe just a little. Plus, the guy deserves props for looking dapper as fuck while doing it. While the album lacks a certain stand out track that defines the album, songs like ‘Daydreamin” and ‘I Gotcha’ come close, but why have one stand out song, when you can have a whole album of smooth, toe-tapping grooves that could make you smile like a Cheshire cat? ‘Food and Liquor’ is an album worthy of your coins and iPod capacity, check out the album artwork inside too! Dope! With the like’s of Kanye, Lupe and Pharrel being major heads in the hip hop industry these days, hopefully some similar artists will start to emerge and fuel our passion for cleverly written rhymes over a jazzy score. Geek rap has never looked so cool.

Joe Moynihan

The Jektmosphere

What’s shakin’ you lot? This month has been a quality one for me, getting to see Kid Koala, Jay Z, People Under The Stairs and Stone’s Throw live, with Jehst and Edan lined up in the coming weeks. I’ve also had a lovely amount of CDs in and as always I’ll share it with you fine upstanding citizens. But this is only for the sexy people!

SURREAL & DJ BALANCE – Future Classic
(Hip Hop IS Music)
www.hiphopismusic.com

I might start sounding like a broken record if Braille’s new label keeps putting out brilliant music, but that’s something I’m happy to do, so long as I have this soundtrack behind me. Florida’s Surreal is a rapper who I’ve heard on various guest spots, but this is a chance for him to really come out on his own steam and DJ Balance’s cuts certainly stand up well underneath the flows.

Hip Hop IS Music make a point of keeping hip hop true and making sure the producers have equal footing on the tracklisting on the back cover. So even before listening, I saw the likes of Ohmega Watts, Tony Stone and The Sound Providers listed as some of the beatmakers for this album, and I was already excited. So, what does the record sound like? In a word: Awesome.

The deep horn thrusted amongst the liquid guitar on Car And A Job compliments Surreal’s raps perfectly and is followed soon after by the bluesy instrumental by DJ Balanace on One Man Band. The one producer who I didn’t know before this album but who has made me find out more is Vintage, who provides the beats for The Proof, a brass infused beat and my favourite track on the album, Permanent Ink which features Sivion and Braille.

This is a jazzy album with great beats and great lyrics. Can’t really say much better than that can you? Get online and buy it.

JUGGAKNOTS – Use Your Confusion
(Amalgam Digital)
www.amalgamdigital.com

The Juggaknots are finally back and there won’t be too many people more excited about this than me. After about 10 years since releases, brothers Buddy Slim and Breeze Brewin have added their sister Queen Herawin to the mix and are still coming with the freshness that made them stand out so much on Clear Blue Skies.

The beats go from nice and chilled in Hey to bouncing and party-vibed on Leon Phelps to bleepingly grimy on Strip Joint. All three MCs have their own style and Queen Herawin’s raw sounded vocals really give it another edge to what the Juggaknots put out there. Guest producer Oh No gives a couple of beats to the album, one of which, Vows, sees Slick Rick up on the mic too in a nice addition to the vocal talents already on show.

In short, if you dug the Juggaknots before, then make sure you pimp this album because they’re back and they’re just as good as they ever were.

STONE’S THROW – Chrome Children
(Stone’s Throw)
www.stonesthrow.com

Stone’s Throw have become the staple of jazz-infused hip hop and have built up a deserved reputation of a great label in the ten years they’ve been around. Peanut Butter Wolf’s label is celebrating its ten year anniversary with this release, which showcases the talent available to you. Oh No opens it up in fluid fashion on Oh Zone and the hardcore sound of Guilty Simpson follows up, showing the variations on the label.

Madlib, arguably the most famous of all the label’s roster, drops Take It Back, a typically off-kilter buzzer with his so-laid-back-its-horizontal delivery and the legendary J Dilla appears with his Nothing Like This, a short but swirlingly brilliant track. MF Doom’s vocals on Madvillain return with Monkey Suite, and Quasimoto teams up with Percee P on Raw Heat and it really is as raw and stripped down as you can get, whilst remaining as hype as possible.

Beat Junkie J Rocc delivers his usual hype material and label boss Peanut Butter Wolf pops his head into the mix with his remix of Baron Zen’s Turned Around, with a grimey slice of production. This album also comes with a DVD which features a full length concert of Madvillain. They’ve produced some awesome shit over the last 10 years and this album proves there’s a hell of a lot more to come.

FOUR TET – Remixes
(Domino)
www.fourtet.net

Four tet can stand on his own as a quality musician and provide brilliant soundscapes for people to immerse themselves in. But this release doesn’t just feature the obvious talents of Kieran Hebden, it gives you a two disc selection of remixes. On the first disc, the disc that I have, you’ll get the remixes he’s done of other people’s work and with the list providing names like Radiohead, Madvillain, Bonobo, Aphex Twin, Beth Orton and Bloc Party, you know you’re in for a varied ride.

And that’s what sets this album apart from other similar ideas. Hebden has managed to collect a selection of remixes that all sound completely different and individual. Instead of giving all the tracks he’s worked on a certain sound, he’s moved from bleeping hip hop to lo-fi to synthy pop and he does it all with effortless precision.

The second disc, which I unfortunately don’t have a copy of, gives a collection of every remix done of his own work by other people, which includes remixes by Boom Bip and the late, great, J Dilla. Even without hearing it, I know it’ll be worth getting because of the calibre of remixers on the record. Make sure you check this out, you can’t go wrong.

TY – Closer
(Big Dada)
www.bigdada.com

Ty has always flowed along neatly with catchy hooks and laid back style and he’s back with another quality release, Closer. The first track, Don’t Watch That, is a great track about rumours that circulate about him, with him dismissing the idea that he’s loaded or always posing, with some great sharp snares and guitar strums. With a staccato melody hopping over a low funky bassline, Everybody shows Ty has another string to his bow and he switches it up again on The Idea, which features De La Soul.

When I saw Zion I were guesting on the album, I’ll admit I got excited. And when the fuzzy beat drops over a chorus of “Oh”s, the head of yours truly was snapping all over the place. Ty asks “What kind of world do we live in? Some of us are just shedding tears for a living” and providing a voice against the rappers who rap about material things. It might not be an original idea but it’s certainly delivered well.

Ty is not going to be on the list of the greatest rappers ever, but what he does, he does well. He’s chilled, he’s insightful and he knocks out some quality beats. So if you’re a fan of his earlier stuff, you’ll love this!

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Finger Lickin’ Thang 4
(Finger Lickin’)
www.fingerlickin.co.uk

The Finger Lickin’ label has won best label at the Breakspoll awards 4 times, and with that sort of reputation in your locker, you know that a mix series brought out by the label is going to be quality. The opening track, by the Finger Lickin’ Allstars, 2 Da Break, is as funky as you can get and if this was played whilst you’re on the dancefloor, you’d be all over it.

Trouble! By Soul Of Man featuring The Ragga Twins is just the sort of track you’d want to be breaking out the moves to at the Notting Hill Carnival, with its infectious and rowdy beat and Soul Of Man bring the heavy basslines again with their bumping Mylodowndirty. If you wanna pump up the jam, get this. I could use the pun that it’s finger lickin’ good, but I’m too cool for all that… right?

SQUAREPUSHER – Hello Everything
(Warp)
www.warprecords.com

Now, I’m going to admit, Squarepusher really isn’t my thing. It’s a bit too all over the place for my liking, but I thought I’d give his new record a try anyway just to see if I was all wrong about him. Whilst it is still all bit busy for me in most parts of this new album, which is Tom Jenkinson’s tenth, there are some nice parts in, such as the chilled out second half of Bubble Life, which comes as a welcome relief to the fast paced bass solo that kicks in. The drum and bass stylings of The Modern Bass Guitar is a standout track too, as I like a bit of DnB in moderation.

So, whilst this isn’t an album I think is all that great, I’m sure it will appeal to his fans, of whom the Neptunes, Thom Yorke, Flea and Andre 3000 are a few, as it is typical Squarepusher madness.

GHOST F. ABSTRACT RUDE – Basic Instinct (Single)
(Breakin Bread)
www.breakinbread.org

Ghost is one of the most highly regarded producers in the country right now and this track will only serve to cement this position. The track, which features American emcee Abstract Rude [check him out on Basement Records] is a nice smooth track with a great sounding wind section floating on the beat. It’s a chilled track from the album Seldom Seen Often Heard and is a definite late night jam.

The single also features some remixes, one by Ghost himself which is another jazzy affair and a Natural Self remix which has some neat guitar work and funky vibe to it. You’ll also get a second track, Round Trip, an instrumental which showcases Ghost’s handiwork which is another chilled track, with flutes and pianos working around some great drums. Make sure you pick this up.

This month’s art section is going to be a big “we are not worthy” to Flying Fortress, who have plastered their bears all over the place, and also done the “Don’t Copy Me” campaign. Always coming with the freshness, their designs can be manipulated by artists the world over. So when you get two of my personal favourites working together, how can you go wrong with a D*Face Fortress bear? You can’t. Now get on your knees and worship motherfuckers, because this is word to your MUM.

That’s your lot for this month, but make sure you hit me up with emails, even if you’re gonna slag me off and tell me 50 Cent knocks bells out of what I listen to. Keep your eyes peeled on Crossfire for other hip hop, be it live reviews or buzz charters. Until next time, keep it chill.

Peace,

Abjekt

Categories
The Mix

The Mix – 06/09/06

Now people!

Just a few new decent albums to look at from me this month but that makes no difference in the world of Crossfire and now its the perfect time for the nitty gritty.

KIDS IN TRACKSUITS – New Kids Rock the Block
(Dealmaker Records)
www.dealmakerrecords.com
www.kidsintracksuits.co.uk

After the success of their debut hit 7″ Get Your KIT On, the Kids have been taking their unique beat-cutting mayhem all over the shop, from top to bottom of the UK as well as representing in France, Holland and the Czech Republic supporting heads like DJ Shadow and Luke Vibert. As we took a look at their latest single I thought it would be rude not to visit the full album.

There is some amazing scratching, cutting and producing on this album. The Kids use a massive range of sampling from language learning records to old films and programmes that we can enjoy and reminisce. The Kids In Tracksuits new cd “New Kids Rock The Block” has now been released for your pleasure. They are just about to set off on their second UK tour and then will be going on their first European tour after the launch party On Saturday the 9th September.

The launch party will be down at The Malt Cross, St James’ Street, Nottingham. As well the nyloned ones there’ll be appearances from Toulouse’s finest exports, Kaney King and Special Whity, plus visuals from Enjoy The Ride’s Stu Pearson, live art from Rikki Finn all for only £5 on the door (or £3 if your flossing your tracksuit)

Go and get this extremely experimental album and mash your brain up to some of the most weird and wonderful sounds I’ve heard in ages. Pre-orders are now being taken at www.dealmakerrecords.com and all HMV shops. For more info mail sean@dealmakerrecords.com

Upcoming dates for the ASBO Tour (inc. De La Soul support) can be found at;
www.myspace.com/kidsintracksuits2

GOLD DIGGING – As Sampled by Tupac
(Harmless Records)

This album is a must for any Tupac and P-Funk fan!! This is also the 3rd volume in the Gold Digging series, although it’s the first I have heard. I will be crate digging to find the other two. After listening to this one I just hope they can flood as many memories back for me.

The Gold Digging series presents 20 original songs as sampled by Tupac. Fans, critics and journalists consistently rank Tupac as the greatest rapper ever. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling rap/hip-hop artist ever, having sold over 73 million albums worldwide and achieving 17 top ten singles in the United States.

As in the previous Gold Digging volumes, (Kanye West and Jay-Z), this double CD brings you the original tracks as used on the worldwide hits Changes, Do For Love, California Love, I Aint Mad At Ya and many more. For Tupac fans and casual listeners alike, this is an impeccable selection of music. In fact, you can make your minds up for yourself…….here’s the track listing:

Bobby Caldwell What You Wont Do For Love Sampled for Do For Love
Bruce Hornsby & The Range The Way It Is Sampled for Changes
Ronnie Hudson West Coast Pop Lock – Sampled for California Love
Linda Clifford Never Gonna Stop Sampled for All Eyez On Me
Kool & The Gang – Winter Sadness Sampled for Picture Me Rollin
James Brown Spank Sampled for Trapped
DeBarge Dream Sampled for I Aint Mad At Ya
Dennis Edwards – Don’t Look Any Further Sampled for Hit Em Up
Quincy Jones Body Heat Sampled for How You Want It
Zapp – Computer Love Sampled for Temptations
Minnie Ripperton Inside My Love Sampled for Me Against The World
Funkadelic Get Off Your Ass & Jam Sampled for Holla If You Hear Me
Five Stairsteps Ooh Child Sampled for Keep Ya Head Up
Sly & The Family Stone Sing A Simple Song Sampled for Temptations
Mr Mister Broken Wings Sampled for Until The End Of Time
The OJays Brandy Sampled for Life Goes On
James Brown Blind Man Cant See It Sampled for Trapped
Cameo Candy Sampled for All About You
Peoples Choice Do It Anyway You Wanna Sampled for Holla If You Hear Me

If you want to know more about this album don’t hesitate to contact Ed at The Outpost.

DOC BROWN – Citizen Smith Volume 2: Nothing To Loose
www.docbrown.co.uk
www.myspace.com/docbrownpoison

Here we are for the second instalment of the Citizen Smith saga. For those of you that are familiar with volume 1, “Nothing to Loose” is coming from a completely different angle.

This album has 16 pretty decent tracks throughout. It does address the more light-hearted hip hop fan rather than going for the deep and dirty underground stuff. If im honest I prefer the mucky type of hip hop, but there are some great tracks on here. I’m particularly fond of the live freestyle at the end of the cd. Other tracks to look out for on this album are “Smash That” this is a good tune that could probably get even the shittest of parties rockin’. “Wake Up” includes the work of our old friend Mr Thing and Doc together. This tune tells the story of a one night stand going very wrong (oh dear) I like the skills involved in this one.

If you don’t know…..Doc has collaborated with the likes of Taskforce, Harry Love, Yungun, Tommy Evans and MCD. He has also toured with Busta Rhymes and De La Soul, and they are some heavy names to contend with. That’s quite an impressive line-up if you ask me. You can have a little listen at the myspace address above or go and buy it from the web address above. Remember that this album isn’t out until 2nd October so hold your horses for the next few weeks, it’ll be here soon! You will be able to buy it from www.suspect-packages.com as soon as it’s out.

And that’s that! Here’s a bit of graf for you to lay your weary eyes upon

Over to Abjekt for more delicious delights. See you soon and good luck in winning those tickets for the DMC’s!!!!

Kris Drew

The Jektmosphere

I’ve made my return from America, the land of hopes and dreams… ok, well, the land of fast food joints and fatties, and brought a whole stack of CDs home with me that I got free from Scribble Jam, some of which make it into this month’s Mix.

And after you’ve read this, make sure to pimp the Doomtree interview. They’re the best crew in hip hop as far as I’m concerned and put out some of the best and most original music at the moment. If there’s any justice in the world, they’ll be huge so make sure you read this interview so you can boast that you knew them before they blew up. And whilst I’m at it, I’ll let you all know that you should keep an eye out for the video for POSBleeding Hearts Club with Slug – You’ll notice a certain Abjekt in there as an extra dressed as a bell-hop.

So, I’ll begin with a firm favourite of mine and then move around from the UK to the US and back again with some lovely choice slices of hip hop for you. As always I try to bring variation so there’s something for everyone and I hope you find some stuff you like in amongst this lot. On with the show!

GLUE – Catch As Catch Can
(Fat Beats)
www.gluemakesmusic.com

I’m going to say it now – This album is my album of the year so far. And unless something absolutely incredible drops, I can’t see anything overtaking it. Glue have always worked hard and produced brilliant music, but this is where they take a step up and slide into the “great” category. Maker, the producer, provides arguably the best percussions I’ve ever heard on a hip hop album, standing above the monotonous drums that get lazily used on rap records. Even his interludes, like State Of The World, are amazing, and would wipe out tracks on other albums.

Beat Beat Beat pounds away with emcee Adeem battle DJDQ showcasing the talent of both, Hometown Anthem’s liquid guitars wash over the muted trumpets in homage to the group’s own cities, Glupies brings in some more horns but this time around a soulful sample and every track brings its own individuality to the plate as Adeem switches from fast to chilled rapping, never straying from his unique sound and lyrical prowess.

But it’s the track Vessel that proves to be the best track on the record. A track about a robot being made to believe he’s a human to get the chores done, the beat starts off with dreamy keys and are joined by some brushing drums. Adeem’s vocals get more aggressive as the beat steps up a gear with some fuzzy guitars joining the fray before DJDQ breaks out some gloriously effective scratching. The next stage of the 6 minute long track is an understated solo amongst the distortion before the final part rears up as the keys from the introduction of the song.

If you want to hear 3 masters of their crafts come together and produce one of the most consistently brilliant albums of recent years, buy this. Because you will continue to be amazed by it long after the purchase.

BONOBO – Days To Come
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

You’d think I’d get bored of saying how great Ninja Tune releases are, but its not my fault if they just keep churning out quality now is it? Bonobo is best known for his atmospheric, brooding instrumentals, and his style hasn’t changed for this new album, despite the fact that he has vocals on it. A lot of the time, putting vocals on tracks by a producer that’s used to doing non-vocalised tracks, is a mistake, but Bajka has a voice that just seems perfect for the music she sings on. But when he does do instrumentals, like Ketto, he shows you just why he’s considered as one of the best around.

Bonobo can even experiment with a soulful little pop song with labelmate Fink and get away with it because the little details in it, from the strings to the finger cymbals, give it that dimension that most other songs you’ll hear won’t have. That’s what makes Bonobo stand out, he doesn’t saturate his music with too many sounds, but he’s always got that depth that provokes extra listens. I can never get bored of this guy and this is a quiet slow-burner that’ll really get you if you listen to it in the right mood. Beautiful.

CUT CHEMIST – The Audience’s Listening
(Warner Bros)
www.cutchemist.com

When news came through that Cut Chemist wasn’t going to be on the new J5 album and would be doing his own solo thing, I got excited. And as soon as I’d heard the album once through, I felt as though he’d exceeded expectations. From the intro of samples introducing him, to the rolling drums of the outro, Cut Chemist goes from one style to another, excelling at everything he does.

The pounding bass drums on My 1st Big Break sets the scene nicely as the tremolo guitars, reminiscent of the Pulp Fiction theme, twang a melody around various samples. The stand out track, The Garden, gives a chance for the horns to excel quietly with some eastern vibes intertwined with the floating vocals. When the drums come in properly half way through, you get lifted out of your room and into some Mediterranean paradise.

Hymnal’s appearance on What’s The Attitude brings in a more traditional hip hop boom bap beat for his vocals and the guest spots by the ever-incredible Edan and Def Jux’s Mr Lif with a spaced out vibe spins the listener’s ear drums around and places them firmly into the beat itself. Who needs J5 when you have this?

BASEMENT JAXX – Crazy Itch Radio
(XL)
www.basementjaxx.com

Basement Jaxx are the sort of group you want to DJ your house party when you want to crank the volume up and piss off the miserable old bastards next door. They can switch to any type of music and still make the party jump and that is exactly what their new album does.

From the horn-led Hey You which sounds like what Gogol Bordello would sound like if they did dance music to the grimey Run 4 Cover with Lady Marga [a would-be Lady Sov sound-a-like], the Jaxx boys keep the beat thumping and give you no choice but to tap those feet, strum those fingers and swing those oh-so-snake like hips. Move it or lose it buster, this is another cracking album from Felix and Simon and you need to get out and buy it.

AMP FIDDLER – Afro Strut
(Genuine Records)
www.myspace.com/ampfiddler

Joseph “Amp” Fiddler does what most male singers can’t do – Get me interested. In the days where any fella with a high voice can wail over a beat with absolutely melody, it’s refreshing to hear someone with a good voice singing over a tune which you can actually hum to yourself afterwards. If I Don’t is a lovely bouncy jazzy number which leads off the album well and Right Where You Are has some wicked strings and mellow vibes to it.

I Need You shows his ability to throw a few surprises into the works with some bashment infused vocals and Funky Monday sounds exactly as you’d hope – some raw bass distortion which makes you think of Shaft strutting and striding down the street. This is the sort of BBQ in the garden type CD that you’ll be putting on when its raining, wishing you could be out chilling on the grass.

BABY J – FTP 2 – Fight The Power
(All City Music)
www.allcitymusic.net

Baby J is one of, if not the, most loved producers in the UK right now and his new album, hot on the heels of the first FTP album and his work on the beats for Blade’s last release, is set to get great responses. Getting Dynamite MC onto the tracklist early on is a good call, as his familiar flow raps over the sample of Young, Gifted And Black with some thoughtful lyrics on black society. Bluesy sampled Down Here It’s Raining sees Fallacy step up to the plate and deliver some fresh rhymes and the Poisonous Poets throw up an appearance over some more sampled beats.

Baby J could be seen as a little lazy because he seems to follow the same blueprint for most of the tracks, chuck in a sample, put a beat over it and loop it. But whilst this is true, a fair amount of the beats are catchy and the rappers he gets on the tracks are quality in parts and he ends the album with some real quality in the form of Mr Ti2bs on Thoughts. If you dug J’s beat for Skinnyman’s I’ll Be Surprised, you’ll like this album.

ALIAS & TARSIER – Plane That Draws A White Line EP
(Anticon)
www.anticon.com

This EP, the follow up to their album Brookland/Oaklyn [which was featured in a previous Mix], brings the talents of beatmaker Alias and singer Tarsier back together with some remixes and 3 brand new tracks. If you dug the chilled out, swirling beats from the album, then you will no doubt be into this EP. One of the new tracks, Nocturnal Eye, could be Bjork singing on the track, a diamond for sure.

The other two tracks are equally soothing, with Sleepy slightly more upbeat with its distorted bleeps and subtle vocal samples. The remixes are similar in that respected, with the exception of one, which offers something a little different however. Boom Bip’s remix of the title track hovers in electronica and speeds up the beat somewhat, giving it a slightly more hectic feel.

GON – Where The Truth Lies
(Urchin Studios)
www.urchin-studios.com

This was one of the free CDs I got at Scribble Jam and is definitely one that I would have spent money on. To start with, the artwork is great, nothing like some good visuals to make your stuff stand out amongst all the freebies. Gon raps over other people’s beats, as we’re getting used to on mixtapes, but he gives the tracks something extra when he raps, rather than annoying the listener by ruining a perfectly good instrumental.

When you have his elegant delivery flowing over jazzy Blockhead beats and sounding just as effective over a funky quasi-psychadelic RJD2 canvas, you know you’re listening to a very capable emcee. Lyrically he’s on point too and I’m really interested in hearing his next release. The best things in life are free – this may just be the proof you need.

KID KOALA – Your Mom’s Favourite DJ
(Ninja Tune)
www.ninjatune.net

Cut and paste hip hop is either great or really, really annoying. Thankfully you know when you stick Kid Koala on that you’re never going to get the latter. Opening up with some finger-click inducing swing and then melting that into funky basslines and drums is the perfect way to get those rumps shaking. By the end of the first of his 2 mixes, you’ll have swayed through some neat scratching, cocktail party pianos and some blues.

The second disc is just as interesting, with distortions, electric guitars and brilliantly sampled vocal slots, Kid Koala runs diagonally across a bunch of different types of music. Amongst all the change ups and scratching, the DJ still manages to keep me interested with his style and allows everything to flow seamlessly. A quality release.

DISTRAKT – Distraktions
(Yard Rock Records)
www.distrakt.com

Another CD I got given at Scribble Jam and another one that is definitely forking out some cash for. Distrakt, out of Colorado, used to run with Atmosphere’s Ant and this album is proof that he can easily go it alone. Shit Ain’t Sweet is a great track to put on near the start, with its simple but devastatingly effective melody and thumping beat whilst he shows his ability to switch up styles with more soulful vibes like Greed.

The pounding bass of Don’t Get Mad with its “girls pee pee when they see me” sample is a brilliant slice of hip hop and the honky-tonk piano in Too Bad sits nicely off-kilter with his more pushing vocals. Distrakt has put 21 tracks of quality hip hop up on this album, and with his quality beats and solid rapping, he should be checked out without a shadow of a doubt.

TOKI WRIGHT – Low Budget High Quality 2.0
(Self Released)
www.myspace.com/tokiwrightmusic

Everyone should know by now how much I love the Minneapolis/St Paul hip hop scene and Toki Wright is one of the hardest workers around. He passed me this CD of some of his work, guest spots and more to check out and I’m glad he did. His work with the Doomtree Crew – Sims’ Market Made Murder and POS’ Ants – were tracks I already knew, and loved. His verses standing up superbly against the Doomtree rappers, so it wasn’t a surprise when I checked the other tracks on here and found they were quality too.

Chilled out beats on Building Blocks, smooth flows on Schoolyard Bullies [which includes the fresh Nomi from Power Struggle] and the awesome jazz-tinged Cradle To The Grave provide fitting soundscapes for Toki to deliver his knowledge over and if you’ve got any sense, you will find out about all his projects, from his solo stuff to his work in The C.O.R.E and Aphrill. Twin Cities did it again!

ICE CUBE – Laugh Now, Cry Later
(Virgin)
www.icecubemusic.com

Former NWA man Ice Cube is back with a bang with his new album Laugh Now, Cry Later. From the heavy hitting single Why We Thugs, which sees Cube question the Bush administration and continual problems found throughout America and the world. He’s never been one to mince his words and this new record is no exception with tracks like A History Of Violence, Child Support and The Game Lord.

Hardcore pounding beats and aggressive no-nonsense rapping is what you get on this release and it’s a testament to Cube that after all his years in rap, and his progression to the big screen, that he can still deliver what his fans want. There are some guest spots on the album which help give another style to the tracks, such as those from Snoop Dogg and Lil Jon. But one thing is for sure, if you were ever an Ice Cube fan, this album won’t let you down. He’s as raw, impassioned and in-your-face as he ever was, and this album will make you remember just why you liked him in NWA in the first place.

ATHERTON & SIRE – A Different Way Of Doing The Same Old Thing
(Vinyl Tap Music)
www.vinyltapmusic.com

Canada’s Atherton & Sire first came to my attention when I heard one of their tracks which sounded like someone rapping over an old 1980’s console game. How pleased I was to hear that it was added onto the end of this album, it’s belting!

The beats on this album are brilliant, pure and simple. Atherton’s way of switching up numerous styles for Atherton to rap over is superb on this record, with Everything starting the proceedings off on some fantasy-strings vibe and haunting backing vocals before flipping the script to bring some honky tonk piano into the melody on ATM, where Atherton delivers his knowledge on money and lack thereof. Another standout track, Past Tense, is another floaty sampled beat with high strums and a simple piano beat and Three Simple Words, the duo’s love song, has some Spanish guitars twiddling under Atherton who hits the listener with original take on those three magic words – “headtrips and mindgames” as he puts it in the chorus.

This is a great album which varies in tempo and style but always maintains a high level of sound. Definitely one to check out!

This month’s art comes from Spain’s Flannmd who dropped by Crossfire HQ not too long ago. His art is nice and vibrant, cool and quirky, just how I like it when I’m pimping some graff. It’s always good to see artists move around to find new street canvases and it’s awesome that he came over to London to slam this badboy on the walls over here. Long may it continue!

Well folks, that’s your lot for this time around – An absolutely huge load of stuff for you to check out. If there’s anything on there you like, drop me an email by clicking on my name below and let me know what it was you liked, I’m always down to recommend more stuff to y’all! Until next time, keep those dunks kicking and those fingers clicking.

Peace,

Abjekt