Beats – April 2009

June 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: Music Australia Guide #64, April 2009.

BEATS with Dan Rule

Prefuse 73
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian
****1/2

Guillermo Scott Herren has taken a leaf out of Madlib’s book on his lustrous fifth studio album. Everything She Touched abandons lengthy tracks and discreet compositions for a kind of organic A.D.D. The producer melts and moulds 29 sketches into the record’s 48-minute runtime, and with stunning results. Tracked to analogue tape, this is some of Herren’s most sophisticated and sonically rich work to date. He seems to be drawing on all his stocks, from his signature layered future hip hop bump, to the sun-faded Latin groove, acoustics and psychedelic glow of his work as Savath & Savalas. A timeless addition.

Warp/Inertia

Odd Nosdam
T.I.M.E. Soundtrack
****

Anticon’s king of low-bit-rate crunch David Madson has done it again with the release of T.I.M.E. Soundtrack, his visionary score for 2007 skateboard film This Is My Element. This is vintage stuff from the Berkeley producer – churning with cassette static, fuzzed-out, drone-drowned guitars and brutal clusters of break beats. Madson keeps it within the studio walls here. Where recent work like Burner and Level Live Wires echoed with a myriad of field recordings and sources, T.I.M.E. tightens the screws. It does lack some of the exploratory sensibilities of his best material, but at the same time, it makes for one of his most concise records.

Anticon/Stomp

Coalition Crew
Known Unknowns
***1/2

The second long-player from Brisbane crew Coalition Crew is an elaborate production. Across 16 cuts and two discs, Known Unknowns sees the trio ply their live instrumentation and sparkling production aesthetic to styles as varied as soul, funk, rock, dub and straight up boom-bap. It’s pretty damn impressive, especially on tracks like Another Day in the Life and the brooding Vultures. But while a strength, Coalition’s live band sound is also a limitation. The bass lines, beats and guitar phrases are all a little too conventional for this rock-solid album to really get off the grid. It visits disparate points on the map, it fails to blur the borders.

Obese

Raph Boogie
Le Bump
****

Le Bump is an apt title for the new solo venture from veteran Melbourne MC, photographer and jack-of-all-trades Raph Boogie. One third of the legendary Mnemonic Ascent, Raph brings the funk on this slick selection of cuts. Drawing on a host of contributors – from locals like Plutonic Lab, BVA and DJ Danielsan to internationals The Nextmen and DJ Design – Raph flows all over a bunch of bouncing hooks. Tracks like Fever, replete with a burning verse from Detroit rapper Phat Kat – is funked out masterpiece. But Le Bump is anything but vacuous. The introspections of I Know offer a sombre assessment of family and mortality.

Crookneck/Shogun

Brother Ali
The Truth is Here EP/DVD
***1/2

Brother Ali has been one of Midwest hip hop’s most exciting finds in recent years. 2007 debut The Undisputed Truth was a soul-drenched tour de force and the albino rapper’s matchless skills, intensely personal lyricism and relaxed flow have made him one the Rhymesayers crew’s chief drawcards. The Truth is Here EP/DVD compiles nine new jams and some great live footage from a Minneapolis concert in the lead up to his forthcoming full-length. While it’s no album, this is definitely a solid collection. Production maestro Ant’s liquid cuts underscore Ali’s raps seamlessly throughout. Check buzzing tracks like Baby Don’t Go and The Believers.

Rhymesayers/Shock

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