The first single off EZ Rollers' new album presents a meaty take on the disco drum & bass craze. Live elements play off synthetic drums, creating the full, rich sound that is the group's trademark. The radio mix and "One Crazy Diva" track may be vocally over-the-top for some, but Roni Size delivers a pared-down, rolled-out version for the DJs. Read more »
The latest project from aFRO-mYSTIK draws liberally from a variety of '70s fusion sources, from the Bitches Brew-influenced cover art to the lurking presence of Herbie Hancock. Like much early fusion, Morphology has strong and weak moments, and just as in the '70s, the weaker moments seem to coincide with cheesy strings, and occasionally unsteady singing and poetry. The album seems to reach its highest points when it travels to the most rhythmic dark-funk territory: "Intersections," for example, is a percussive, moody piece most closely reflecting the spirit of Miles Davis. Read more »
The Dirty South has had it on lock for years now, and with all due respect, it's time for some new blood. The Pacific Northwest, an unlikely hip-hop stronghold if there ever was one, is ready to step up. Sleep is ringleader of Oldominion, an Anticon-ish collective of freaknik MCs from Bill Gates's hood. Sleep can tear off syllables at a cheetah's pace like Aesop Rock or Busdriver, but even his fastest rhymes make sense. When he does get abstract, he does it like an Impressionist, throwing around color to emphasize what's beneath. Read more »
Sure, sampling Bobby McFerrin's theme to the Cosby Show for a song called "Prime Time" might be gimmicky, but it kinda works. While not a club banger, this one will be right at home on mixtapes. The b-side's "Finite Number of Starz" flips a smooth downtempo bassline over which the MCs sound right at home. Read more »
Sussex's Hint-a.k.a. Jonathan James-gets well pastoral on his debut album, mixing up lazy breaks with porch-appropriate guitars (including some slide action that wouldn't sound out of place on a Lambchop record) and chirpy, naïve harmonies. Read more »
Tango & Ratty return with another heavyweight floor-killer, this time for Digital's Function imprint. "Steel Fingers" lays it down proper, with tough rolling beats and a heart-pounding drop that chugs past haunting atmospherics and that essential bass-pump. The flip's "Snake Style" brings it even harder, inducing the chill before busting things wide open with a bouncing bottom end and infectious hook that'll have them screaming for more. Read more »
The Colors Sounds project is a new series of compilations being produced by Colors magazine (owned by clothing company Benetton) and the first, Nordic, culls tracks from artists in Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Though the comp features a number of different styles, there's something genuinely friendly and inviting about the album, emphasizing melody and warm, crackly productions (like Royskøpp, Múm, Jimi Tenor) as well as the colder, more menacing music (Xploding Plastix, Pan Sonic). Read more »
The debut cut from Finland's own Infekto proves a dancefloor killer of the highest degree. "Burner" is the standout of the two, slowly layering and unfolding before allowing the darkness to creep in. Hit the flip for the equally precise two-stepper "Black Magic"-a solid groove holds it down with the sweet touch of old-school techno stabs and crowd-roars. It's high-energy dancefloor bounce makes this one an essential purchase. Read more »
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