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Review: Omid Distant Drummer

Label: Beneath The Surface

This long awaited solo debut by LA underground producer Omid (who also records as O.D.) on his own Beneath the Surface label is a solid collection of instrumental hip-hop tracks. From the demonic distorted bassline of "The Sad King" to the frantic drums of "Island Covenant" and the sad Arabic strains of "Ease in the Middle Piece," it becomes obvious that the man knows his way around a sampler. But while Distant Drummer brings the beats, it's not entirely groundbreaking, at least not as amazing as some of Omid's production for emcees like Busdriver and Freestyle Fellowship. Read more » 

Review: Osunlade Offering

Label: R2

This gem of an album doesn't really break new ground-there's nothing particularly flashy, attention-grabbing or innovative here. What distinguishes Osunlade's Offering from the rest of the Afro-Brazilian, nu-jazz and broken beat set is the reverence, earnestness and sincerity with which he treats each of the tunes on this compilation. There's no quick-mixing or clever cutting about, just one impossibly soulful song flowing directly into the next. Read more » 

Review: Andre Afram Asmar Race to the Bottom

Label: Mush

This disc finds underground-hip-hop hotbed Mush deviating into radical multicultural inventiveness. On his second album, LA producer Andre Afram Asmar unearths dub's roots and then fertilizes them with exotic seeds from Africa, the Middle East and Crooklyn. Asmar consistently keeps things eerie and disorienting, but he retains a soulful humanity amid the studio sorcery. Race To The Bottom is as sonically radical as mystical iconoclasts Muslimgauze and Badawi, but with a more uplifting spirit than either. Read more » 

Review: The Militia Music for the Masses EP

Label: Cargo Industrial

This four-man collective-featuring the talents of Stakka, Friction, Skinny and K Tee-continues on in the rolling sci-fi vein these producers love so well. "Music For the Masses" and "Electrolux" are relentless, pounding Amen crushers, while "Low Key" and "You and I Know" are swingy machine-funk with precisely placed female vocals. Considering drum & bass's current warmth, these tracks sound a bit austere, but they'll still have some dancefloor currency. Read more » 

Review: Model 3 Substance EP

Label: Soundproof

This debut release on Dallas label Soundproof features a triplet of tight house tracks for those who like it deeper. The pick of the three is Cle's stripped-down, modern acid house cut "Sustained Way," which absolutely kicks on a loud system. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists On the Right Track

Label: Do Right!

This could easily be a one-line review, "On the Right Track features a Finnish goth band." Finns are already pale, so their goths must be reflective shadow dancers. Oddly enough, Kuusumun Profeetta contributes in the warmest way-their velvety bossanova glows like Chet Baker serenading the Northern Lights. Swell Session, the Vogado Project, Moonstarr & John Kong, Nicola Conte and other qualified cohorts round out the On the Right Track pack. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Motivate Movement Installment One: Asiatic

Label: Motivate Movement

This compilation is first in a series of projects put out by Motivate Movement, a hip-hop collective dedicated to both preserving the memory of slain Bay Area graffiti artist Michael "DREAM" Francisco and supporting positive hip-hop. Overall, the CD is impressive, containing great production, awesome cuts and some real nice rhymes from a slew of Asian-American artists and their collaborators, representing East Coast, West Coast and in between. Read more » 

Review: Headnodic Walk Something

Label: Miclife-Insiduous

These two 45s spotlight the production skills of bassist/beatmaker Headnodic of the Bay Area's rising Crown City Rockers (formerly Mission). Rhyme tracks like the loping, piano-touched "Walk" and the laidback "Something" with Raashan Ahmad work well, but check the instrumentals, especially the Rhodes-rockin' "Persistence" and the string-driven "Presipus." Hot. Read more » 

Review: Mutiny UK In the Now

Label: System

There's a Jaxx factor to this one. Mutiny UK's Dylan Barnes used to produce with a pre-Basement Jaxx Simon Ratcliffe. Barnes has since joined with Tommy Boy producer Rob Davy, but the familiar samples and bassline on album opener "Midnight Lady" still recall certain fin-de-si Read more » 

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