XLR8R - logo



Review: Gangstarr Skillz

Label: Noo Trybe

It's truly amazing how Preemo can embody that gritty, Tim-boot, dark-street feeling in his beats. This first single from their next album release, The Ownerz, is the latest addition to his street catalog. The element of surprise, however, lies in the cadence of Guru's lyrics, as he seems to "ride" this disco street groove instead of running a normal flow. Read more » 

Review: Cornel Campbell Original Blue Recordings 1970-1979

Label: Moll-Selekta

Jamaica's gentle falsetto vocalist Cornel Campbell has been resurfacing lately on a number of British and German electronic roots and dub recordings. In particular, his work on Berlin's Burial Mix last year, combined with the reissues of classic Campbell hits such as "Queen Of The Minstrels" and "Up Park Camp," unleashed a flood of interest in his early music. Blood and Fire's brilliant 2000 release I Shall Not Remove showcased many of Campbell's best tracks from 1975 through 1980, Original Blue Recordings fills in some more gaps. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists No Space for Dogma

Label: K2O

In just two years, K2O has presented IDM from artists as far-flung as Moscow, Berlin, Brooklyn and Colorado. Sadly, geographic diversity doesn't translate into musical diversity, as much of No Space for Dogma runs together into a midtempo soup. It's up to TenEcke to wake us up with a splash of cold water called "The Living Ice Age," which weaves together real cymbals with blatantly fake drum machine hits, while ominous guitars and bass scratch and bleep away. Read more » 

Review: Mathias Schaffhauser Re:

Label: Multicolor

In which Cologne-based minimalist producer Schaffhauser presents two takes on late-night-clubby material from his recent remixes comp. Both J.C.A.'s "I Begin To Wonder" and Raz Ohara's "This Is A Beautiful Day" get a shimmering and understated bass-kick-spit-snare treatment. Read more » 

Review: Pumpkinhead Beautiful Mind

Label: Third Earth Music

In case you missed Pumpkinhead's other releases, the first thing you should know is this dude is a raw MC. Period. He's aggressive, full of powerful punchlines, and ready for a lyrical throwdown at any time. His Achilles heel, however, is his taste in beats. Not that the production is terrible, but lazy and cluttered tracks like "Pumpin (Pause!!!)" don't do justice to Pump's potent flow. With the proper tracks behind him, Pumpkinhead could be like an estranged member of the Beatnuts: funky, rough, rugged, and combative. Read more » 

Review: Illumination This Is Illumination

Label: Logic 3000-BMG

Illumination's debut is an ambitious-if at times inconsistent-collection of tracks. This Norwegian duo made a name for themselves through their solo projects and remix work under the Chilluminati tag; their Bugge Wesseltoft rework should be required listening for any downtempo DJ. Now working under the guise of Illumination, the two shift gears to produce an album that's at times aimed squarely at the dancefloor and at others better suited for after-hours listening. Read more » 

Review: Spacek Motion Control

Label: !K7

In advance of their devastating new album, Steve Spacek and Co. put aside that "Radiohead of soul" nonsense and get down to some tasty Timbaland-meets-Terrence Trent D'arby mess right here. The title is the soundtrack to playful foreplay, while the flip's "It's Not Gonna Happen" gives up some mush-mouthed disappointment over spitty rhythms. Read more » 

Review: Aphex Twin 26 Mixes for Cash

Label: Warp

IDM icon Richard D. James has never hidden his mercenary tendencies. Despite (or because of) this crassness, Aphex Twin has cranked out some of his most interesting-and absurd-music while tweaking other artists' tracks. The range of people remixed on 26 Mixes For Cash is astonishing, and it allows James to unveil many facets of his musical arsenal. Read more » 

Review: Dr. Oop Capone and the Black Love Crew Mad Hueman Disease

Label: Black Love

If you're down with the LA underground hip-hop scene, you already know that Dr. Oop is one of its most talented proponents. If you've been sleeping, here's your wake-up call. Mad Hueman Disease's Afro-futurist b-boy jams might earn the backpack tag, but the Black Love crew shows there's no need to be ashamed of that. There is indeed a method to the Good Doctor's madness, one that involves basement beats, sci-fi skits and brain-lifting lyrics. Rhymes like who wanna screw with the ganja guru/bumpin "Black Uhuru?" might be battle-worthy, but should be taken tongue-in-cheek. Read more » 

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player