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)
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.
KYZA – The Experience
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
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
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)
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!
L. MAN – Impatiently Waiting
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.
LLOYD BANKS – Rotten Apple
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)
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.