Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brightblack Morning Light - Motion to Rejoin (2008) [Matador]

Naybob Shineywater pens mystic lyrics about rainbows, hologram buffaloes and living in a little tent down by the river — and he's got the hippie bona fides to back it up. With his partner, Rachael Hughes, Shineywater lives in a solar-powered home in New Mexico, where the pair typically craft psych-rock blues albums under the name Brightblack Morning Light. But on the duo's third record, they expand their sound with touches of Muscle Shoals-era soul. Cuts like "Hologram Buffalo" are accented with flutters of reedy saxophones, and the morphine-slow "Oppressions Each" features sensual backing vocals from soul vets Ann and Regina McCrary. Meanwhile, Shineywater sings about dropping out of society: "Always closer to the land," he croons, "and nobody wants oppression." His lyrics are still ridiculously New Age-y — "Keep the spirit clean and let the high times roll," he sings on "Past a Weatherbeaten Fencepost" — yet his airy vocals are so subsumed within sumptuous drones that it doesn't matter. At 50 minutes, Motion to Rejoin's jams drift off into the ether, but that's their whole charm: Surrender to the flow, and you'll never know where the time went. (Rolling Stone)


Brightblack Morning Light (2006) [Matador]

Pitchfork gave it an 8.2:

The first few weeks I listened to Brightblack Morning Light, I was working on a longish project: It nestled into the background like one perfect, melancholic deep-woods quilt. Listening more closely, the lullabies keep showing new angles while getting livelier and livelier. That sort of compositional ruggedness is a treat: Brightblack Morning Light offers a clear-cut differentiation between run-of-the-mill indie-rock bar bands hiding out in folksy wardrobes and those doing something nuanced and complex. Hell, not even a song called "We Share Our Blanket With the Owl" could fuck up this shape-shifting slumber party. (PitchforkMedia)


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daedelus - Denies the Days Demise (2006) [Ninja Tune]

Daedelus aka Alfred-Weisberg-Roberts returns to the fray with "Denies The Day's Demise," a new album of electro-tropicalia. The LA-based musician and producer always tries to do something thematic with every release and the contrast with his first Ninja Tune record could hardly be starker. If "Exquisite Corpse" was his hip-hop album, this is his techno record. There are no collaborations here, Daedelus choosing to strip right back to his own music and voice. In a further departure, this production focuses on the live elements of his previous recordings rather then his well-known sampling style. This is
Daedelus naked, so to speak.

So what is "Denies The Day's Demise" all about? On one hand it's a child's temper tantrum to stay up late, on the other hand it's a grand desire to save the world. "Day's Demise" starts with "At My Heels" a world roaming song, lyrically tongue-in-cheek. Then the riotous "Sundown" officially sets off to the Southern Hemisphere with a full Brazilian bloco band and a stadium rock audience. "Nouveau Nova" a driving, multi-layered exercise which sounds like Bach played on a Bontempi organ ends up as post-bossa, whereas "Viva Vida" sounds like carnivalé in halftime, all lament, and redemption. "Like Clockwork Springs" pulses unlike any previous Daedelus affair, while "Samba Legrand" exudes an easy, lilting charm. "Lights Out" proceeds as a freaked-out exercise in tempo-teased hiphop-isms. Then without any slackening of rhythmical power we reach "Bahia," wherein Daedelus' famous bass clarinet chops get an outing on a celebratory, beautifully broken track. Before the dawn there are tracks like "Patent Pending," nodding to another Alfred, Mr.Hitchcock, with its fluttering flutes and suspense. Then finally, the hyperkinetic loveliness of "Sunrise" gives way to the sheer morning brilliance of "Never None The Wiser", like awakening after a particularly heavy dream...

A thematic and musical tour de force which repays repeated listenings, Daedelus' "Denies The Day's Demise" is all about raging against the dying of the light, the romance of the night and the sheer arse-waggling marvellousness of latino rhythms. Don't dorm… (Ninja Tune)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prefuse 73 - Surrounded by Silence (2005) [Warp]

Scott Herren's (aka Prefuse 73) follow up to 'One Word Extuinguisher'. This album
includes appearances from Masta Killa, GZA, Ghostface, El-P, Beans, Pedro, Camu Tao, DJ Nobody, Kasu from Blonde Redhead, The Books, and Aesop Rock. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Count Bass D - Robbed Without a Pistol (2008)

So after I posted links to both 'Dwight Spitz' and 'BEGBORROWSTEEL' today, Count Bass D himself emailed me requesting that I remove the links. Of course I did and the generous Count has offered this for us instead (from the email):

"I have an alternative for you.

Count Bass D - Robbed Without A Pistol (2008)
For more information:

And the link for the project:

Thank you in advance!
--Count Bass D"

the above project is apparently a 30 minute instrumental release. Check it out and make sure to support his upcoming release, 'L7 (Mid-Life Crisis)' that is going to come out next month on 1320 Records.

Prefuse 73 - One Word Extinguisher (2003) [Warp]

This is an album I'm really digging right now. Pitchfork gave it a 9.1:

Up to now, Scott Herren-- the shy, lanky Atlantan responsible for Prefuse 73's fabulous glitch-hop debut Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives-- hasn't made his name as a purveyor of confessional music. The closest he ever came was the laptop catharsis of Delarosa and Asora, which had no secrets to tell; rather, its intricacies of meter and texture gave your head something to do while your guts spilled out over it. Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives was hard-edged and fast-cutting, immersed in early rap techniques and sensibilities; it didn't express feelings, it steamrolled them. But One Word Extinguisher shows a range of emotional grappling usually foreign to instrumental hip-hop. It's clear that Herren was coming back to the studio night after night not just for skills and thrills, but for a measure of solace. Make no mistake: This is a breakup record.

"The never-ending battle" is what Herren calls the break-up that lasted for the year-plus during which this album was in production. "I locked myself in my room working, disconnected the phone, bummed out as fuck," he told CMJ in March. "You can't talk to anybody, you feel like shit, and it's the only thing you have to express yourself." A year of unspeakable suffering channeled into sixty ripe minutes: In the hands of anyone else, it could be torture. This sorrow, however, sparks with a sweeping wail of queasy ahhh's that carry stunted hopes for a soon-to-be-doomed relationship. Vocal scraps and a blood-curdling scream announce the descent of the mask of hip-hop rage, as an eightfold synth-scribbling bomb drops right into "The End of Biters", the first of several sucker-punching cutfests in the illustrious tradition of the edit record. Next comes Diverse's self-absorbed "Plastic", a screed that rails with righteous indignation against "pop trends and predetermined top-tens." All this over-the-top rebuke is obviously an escape from something.

Things begin to come into focus as "Uprock and Invigorate" bounces in with its edges exposed. Warm, fretless bass, flitting Rhodes, drizzling sawtooth, and a brittle snare become intent on stocking up and locking down with every passing bar. But beneath the surface lies a hint of tension between the percussive exoskeleton and its syrupy core, an orderly contest of soul-versus-machine that momentarily eclipses the sense of loss. The rest of the album projects this kind of tension into a giant battle of the sexes. "The Color of Tempo" mangles its feminine samples with a virile beatbox pattern; "90% of My Mind Is with You" breaks up heavy panting with a deliberately difficult, meter-defying beat, and ends with a series of mournful, defeated R&B samples. There can be no more doubt when, on "Female Demands", a girlfriendish voice casually tells Herren to "fuck with the beat here" only to be throttled by digital effects; the rest of the track feels like a giant damaged gynorcism. Before we know it, we're desperately trying to forget her, bumping with another woman who croons "you... you... you..." on the offs.

Meanwhile, straight meters are often sprinkled with triplet ligaments, propelling the beat with an uncommonly light touch. But Prefuse's rhythmic sophistication isn't just about alternating threes and fours-- as the lesson goes, it takes two interlocked meters to make African music. While Herren rarely tries to stand up in two meters at once, he often relies on the juxtaposition of mildly divergent rhythmic feels within the same beat, proving his mastery of some of the subtler tensions available to the instrumentalist. This gives him access to some very subtle tensions-- though many tracks seem like tricks to distract us from the ongoing devastation. Sooner or later, it sinks in that we're in the company of an emotional fugitive, sealed in a room with machines whose perfect control, he is convinced, will allow him to avoid the inevitable emotional reckoning. Through scorn and bombast, through distraction and self-parody, through the sheer weight of craft, this Prefuse tries to wear his sorrow down, to crush himself, to explode the emptiness. A thrilling listen, but how could such a mission succeed?

I'm not sure how he did it. There's a glimmer of hope in the open restraint of "Choking You", a sawtooth shuffle scattered with chirpy, chalky bits. Another late track calls a gender truce, as a skeletal crunch frames some lightly doctored female vocals, giving a cold, sweet impression, like melon rinds left out in the rain. And the last track, in spite of its metric and sexual duplicity, offers a baffling promise of balance. Unexpectedly, the music becomes its own consolation. (PitchforkMedia)

Download Part 1

Download Part 2

Count Bass D - BEGBORROWSTEEL (2005) [Ramp]

Begborrowsteel is a little too disjointed to be genius itself, but it might be the work of a genius just playing around in the studio. Sixteen “songs,” often spanning less than a minute, fly by seemingly too short to stick, but somehow do; this is more a concentrated album than an EP, even when the songs are more incomplete than short. And it all probably amounts to the best work of Count Bass D’s career so far.

The oddball D, who released one of the first hip hop albums in which the emcee played every instrument involved (Pre-Life Crisis), has converted himself to a true loop digger, constructing several songs from nothing but beats, obscure radio interviews (“Nina & Weldon” uses one of Nina Simone’s) or old movies (“Bullets Hit Brains”). The combination of amazing samples and odd-subjected raps like tooth decay and Zoloft (“Drug Abusage”) and group sex (“The Mingus Sextet”) make for unusual little songs. Even those not sold on the odd flow of the Count can admit he has developed into an excellent producer, “to old beats indebted” but nevertheless strikingly original.

On the only song that fits anything like a single format, “Down Easy,” D is singing, not well, but convincingly. “Low Batteries,” on the other hand, just starts out sounding like a somewhat normal rap song until, like an old Walkman, it starts to slow down and the raps start turning scary: “Count is drinking / I will not take baths, still stinking…Fuck every last one of y’all….I’m 30 years old…” It sounds even better on the record than it does conceptually.

The quick flow of subjects and tracks slows towards the end, but while Begborrowsteel is in its comfort zone, it’s a surprisingly hooky record for something this strangely structured. It is possible that Count Bass D has done us all a favor by removing the hook, most of the lyrics, and sometimes even the context from the hip hop song, giving us the first-ever non-skit 58-second rap song. Or it is possible that this is just a strange preemptive strike from a talent we’ll see more of in 2005. (Dusted Magazine)

Link removed by request of copyright holder

Count Bass D - Dwight Spitz (2002) [High Times]

"Freedom" is sort of a heavy word to attach to a disc or a rapper, but it's clear that's what Dwight Spitz is all about. Locked in a room with only an Akai S-3000 sampler and an MPC-2000 drum machine to keep him company, beat-maker and rapper Count Bass D emerged with a fistful of assorted tracks as tight and unpredictable as anything on the market.

Like Blazing Arrow, the latest disc by Blackalicious, Dwight Spitz crackles with an artistic spark rarely felt within the confines of mainstream hip-hop. Lyrics hit the listener from all angles; Count Bass D's cliché-free rhymes make it impossible to guess what comes next.

But unlike Blazing Arrow's relentless surge of optimism, Dwight Spitz is all over the place. The disc runs from the cool of "August 25, 2001," to the wicked smooth of "Antemeridian," to the gorgeously jazzy "Jussa Player," probably the only hip-hop track in current circulation to begin with the Compaq computer boot-up sound.

Count Bass D goes for variety and impact; his brief, tight tracks often take a single sample, hammer it repeatedly, and drop neat sets of clear rhymes atop funky jazz loops and keyboard progressions that build low-tech Casio soundscapes. The result is a mosaic of sound that acts like musical caffeine; the shifts are sometimes stark, and the contrast keeps a listener awake and bobbing to the beats. It's throwback, and it's radical, echoing the stripped-down expertise that marked Beastie Boys spinoff BS2000.

A rapper who'll name Desmond Tutu or Timothy McVeigh as soon as he'll drop the Fat Boys or Mos Def, Count Bass D embroiders his streamlined melodies and samples with verbally agile rhymes that entertain and dazzle. Spoken out, Count Bass D's lyrics are cold and delicious. But even on paper, they pack weight, like this passage from "Dwight Spitz":

I got a plan like Built to Spill/
Do a US tour for nine months and then I chill/
First name Dwight/
Middle name is Conroy/
I used to truck more jewels than a convoy/
That dream is over I be broke and never sober/
I want two Neve EQs, not a Range Rover

Dwight Spitz defies categorization. It's not a smooth blast of polished radio fodder, or an in-your-face assault on societal wrongs; it's just an artist and his friends making songs. And that's a relief.

A sample on Dwight Spitz declares: "Real music's gonna last. All that other bullshit is here today, and gone tomorrow."

Tomorrow, Count Bass D will still be around. (Flak Magazine)

Link removed by request of copyright holder

Friday, September 19, 2008

Octopus Project - Hello Avalanche (2007) [Peek-a-boo Records]

After several years of nearly non-stop touring with a wildly infectious live show, The Octopus Project has risen to the challenge of capturing that energy and creativity in the studio, and band's third proper full-length is a bold step forward musically and artistically. With ragged, furious distorted guitars at one end of the spectrum and the pure, luminescent tones of the Theremin at the other, "Hello, Avalanche" mines a staggering variety of sounds, bursting with brilliant contrasting colors and cascading waves of sonic bliss.

Although members Josh Lambert, Yvonne Lambert and Toto Miranda each have their instrumental specialties, they spread ideas out on as many instruments as possible, each writing for and performing on any sound-maker they can find. And if the instruments themselves weren't enough, many sounds were manipulated to push them even further — inhuman drum breaks three layers deep piled over live drums, guitar parts mulched into bits and reassembled into a tiny Prince army, and sequenced beats, edited loops and practice space demos spliced with studio recordings to achieve the perfect blend between high-end studio trickery and lo-fi home experimentation.

From gentle vibes and heavenly Theremin choirs to jaunty basslines and electro-static glitch-grooves to a wailing din of dying guitars and break-neck percussion, "Hello, Avalanche" is indeed a welcome disaster, an enchanting sonic cataclysm.
(Peek-a-Boo Records)


Guilty Simpson - Ode to the Ghetto (2008) [Stones Throw]

For years Guilty Simpson has been a rock on the Detroit hip-hop circuit alongside those such as J Dilla, Slum Village, Eminem (whom Guilty still calls “Marshall”) & D12, Obie Trice, Proof, Phat Kat and Black Milk. A member of the Almighty Dreadnaughtz crew, Guilty emerged as a sound to be reckoned with after linking with producer Dilla in 2001. In the midst of recording an album’s worth of material on the MC – including the recently released duet “Take Notice” off of Dilla’s heralded Ruff Draft album – Dilla gave Simpson his first appearance on disc with “Strapped” (from 2003’s Jaylib album).

2006 marked his allegiance with Stones Throw Records – at Dilla’s behest – and appearances on both Chrome Children installments and subsequent tour. It’s taken years, but finally Simpson’s full-length solo debut, Ode to the Ghetto, brings him worldwide, chronicling a life led in the rough-hewn city that birthed him.

Featuring an all-star cast of producers normally reserved for those signed to six-figure deals (J Dilla, Madlib, Denaun Porter of D-12), Ode to the Ghetto marks an evolution, incorporating a more topical and thought-provoking persona in addition to the extra-savage braggadocio Simpson is known for. “I want to make the consumer care about the music again,” the 31-year-old explains.

Guilty’s testosterone-charged, inner city themes possess of a sense of humor at times so side-splitting, it only proves how serious he really is. This rapper was raised on the field of battle and he has more to say than just how fresh he is and how fresh “they” are not. As a matter of fact, he’s found that he’s here to remind the hip-hop world – currently captivated with that manufactured freshness – that life in the ghetto is real.

The evidence shows excessive use of double entendres, too much flavor on public grounds, microphone assault, and verbal harassment of an officer of the law. On the counts of freshness AND realness: The Court of Hip-Hop finds Mr. Simpson to be Guilty. (Stones Throw)


Im Back

Sorry for the lack of posts this month, Ive been moving back to school and just recently got internet in my room. I have a lot of albums to upload in mind so keep checking back.