Beats – May 2009
June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment
Published: Music Australia Guide #65, May 2009.
BEATS with Dan Rule
Born Like This
No one can touch Daniel Dumile, the rap outsider beneath the veiled, super-villain guise of DOOM (formerly MF Doom). His unhinged diction and razor-sharp wit have made the ever-masked MC/producer hip hop’s biggest enigma. Born Like This is yet another stroke of wacko-genius. Across a suite of wiry, string and piano-heaped beats (courtesy of DOOM, Jake One, Madlib and Dilla), Dumile and cronies Raekwon and Ghostface bleed together some of his more dense, obtuse and outright befuddling syllabic follies yet. It doesn’t make for his most direct record, but as always with DOOM, the devil is in the brilliantly warped, slow burn detail.
Pursuit of Happiness
Astronomy Class – Herd rapper Ozi Batla and production maestros Sir Robbo and Chasm – had already dropped one of the singles of the season with the clunking, Vida-Sunshyne and Kween G-blessed dub of Where You At? and new album Pursuit of Happiness serves up more of the same with the rugged, soul-scarred analogue hook and brilliantly snide Ozi verse of opener Dishing Dirt. The issue here is that like much of the Elefant Traks catalogue, virtually the entire remainder of Pursuit relies on a downbeat, reggae-based rhythm. The quality of these productions is unquestionable, but you can’t help but feel that this AC signature might be becoming a limitation.
The Second Story
Flawless MCing doesn’t always result in a great record. It’s a notion evidenced in The Lostralian, the ultimately flat 2005 debut from prodigious Adelaide MC Delta. Put simply, his beat selection just didn’t match his scrupulous verses. Well, he’s turned the tables on follow-up The Second Story. Featuring a host of guests – members of legendary soul outfit the Dap-Kings included – this proves a kinetic and very much complete record. Delta’s conscientious couplets are as sharp as ever and this time he has the beats to back them. Cuts like the electric, self-produced All Over and the tripping, M-Phazes-produced Damnation make this record a must.
Smudge Another Yesterday
Sydney’s Pimmon is journeyman of the international electronic underground. Over 10 years, the prolific sound artist has released his heavily glitched, shimmering sonic scapes on several of the world’s most revered experimental imprints. Smudge Another Day will only add to his already lofty reputation. Unravelling over eight opaque, often abrasive sketches, it proves a work of subtle, nonetheless intense polarities. Rolling ambience narrows into claustrophobic disquiet; shards of static gnash and shatter atop drowned melodic phrases; sweeping drones digitise into clouds of pixilated texture. It’s enthralling throughout. Pimmon has fashioned a sonic contour that is both narcotic and dangerously visceral.
Shout at the Doner
When Miguel Depredo first started mashing the hell out of techno, punk noise and digital hardcore as Kid606, it really felt like he was piloting some kind of urgent, genre-destroying upheaval. The problem with his later material – as paraphrased by the screeching static attacks of newie Shout at the Doner – is that he’s still pushing the same line. Across this record’s 17 brutal cuts, it’s clear that Depredo’s deconstructions haven’t resulted in any further lucidity. It’s almost as if he possesses an uncontrollable compulsion to be the crazy guy at the party. It’s just that when you get to know the crazy guy, he really doesn’t have that much to say.