Virginia's given us producers like Timba, Neptunes and even Premier (born in Norfolk, baby), and your boy Nottz stands tall among 'em. This time (unlike last year's "Don't Wanna Give That Up"), his MC DMP finds his mark with the compelling ghetto-existentialist "Life Ain't Sweet;" "'Where was the 'hood when my stomach was growlin'" indeed. The gorgeous soul vocal on the chorus doesn't hurt a bit, nor does the flipside's bold and disciplined "Uncutt Raw." This slab could portend big thangs for these cats. Read more »
Unlike compilations that just sample three or four ?ber-famous Brazilian artists, BB4 encompasses a wider range of Brazilian music. Paz E "Arroz," for example, takes samba's hip-shaking feel and puts it into pop; Brazilian musical stalwart Jorge Ben originally recorded the song in the '70s. The Sonia Rosa/Yuji Ohno version of "Casa Forte," often recorded and usually horn-driven, strips the songs down and ups the jazz percussion. Star DJ Marky shows up, too, working with XRS to remix an excellent Ive Mendes song. Read more »
Ulrich Schnauss finds virtue in prettiness and early-'90s dream pop. With track titles like "Gone Forever" and "On My Own," this follow-up to his widely revered Far Away Trains Passing By is presumably intended to tug at the heart strings rather than the feet, and kindle particular emotional responses-specifically a sense of loss, longing and loneliness. Yet, like many of the artists to whom the Berlin-based producer can be justly compared (Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Bang Bang Machine), Schnauss creates pleasant music that is curiously blank and weirdly unevocative. Read more »
UK avant-pop quintet Broadcast releases a peek at their most realized album to date. "Pendulum" and the sublime "Still Feels like Tears" are all sweet motorik propulsion. The spazzy analog jazz of "One Hour Empire" and "Violent Playground" recall vintage Sound Library rarities, and closer "Minus Two" sounds like Oval deconstructing the group's live jams. Read more »
Twenty years on, Mr. Fingers remains on track. The title track here is slowed-down, understated and freaky, alive with quirky synths and tabla beats. The flip's "D?j? Vu" runs similarly opaque, with effects on the vocals that enhance the generally ambiguous atmosphere. The man's still innovating in this young'un's game in middle age-we tip our hats. Read more »
Two of Oakland's Souls of Mischief go monster-mashin'. Tajai lays down some of that intense," forward-lookin make-it-happen-rappin'" over A-Plus's hot, Chinese violin-tinged beat on the title track, then over Skitzo's stressed, almost technofied rhythm on the flip's "Who Got It?" With an album on tap, Taj throws down the gauntlet inna hardcore style. Read more »
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