Del – Golden Era
I wish I could say that I’ve been a Del fan since (insert early guest cameo here), but, truth be told, he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. The problem with Del is that he’s an MC who needs a DJ and a producer who can blend, yes BLEND Del into the music instead of putting him front and center. On the Gorillaz track, Clint Eastwood, Del fits into the track instead of standing on a soapbox, churning the same lyrics he has for (insert number of years from Wikipedia).
One Out of A Million is a great track because he fits in. Not sure what “diesel” has to do with anything, but recycling the phrase on other tracks dilutes the phrase. Vocal effects are also neat, but choral and wide effects layered over a very noisy, cacophonous track like Pearly Gates make me cringe. The rest of the album doesn’t change my opinion. Nearly every track is confrontational, talking about “the game”, “haters”, etc…stop talking so much about the art and participate.
And I wish I could even like the beats, but alas, no.
Well, at least I have one track I can spin…
Gold Panda – Companion
Lucky Shiner was the first I’d heard from Gold Panda, and I really liked what I heard. Companion follows in its footsteps with the mysterious, little encapsulated worlds Gold Panda creates each track. Fifth Ave could be held inside your hand, it feels so tightly woven. Like Totally makes me think of looking out on a Winter courtyard. Back Home is a fast-forward video blog of traveling through airports and taxis and hotels and sitting down to a drink on your couch, all done through a fisheye lens. Lonely Owl kinda, well, sounds like the track name and is very contemplative till about halfway in, where the Owl in question most certainly leaves its perch.
The attention to detail is what I hear here, though the Sennheisers, and it makes me think of many other artists in this veing, including Daedelus, Shigeto, and Four Tet, among others. I’ll return to the comment I’ve made about giving equal tools to artists and getting wildly varying results. These are the results I want.
He’s also not content to let you sit still, gazing unfocused, because tracks like Mayuri are certainly made for a loud, bass-filled dancehall with several hundred people.
A few tracks are a bit more experimental, Long Vacation included, where the artist falls into the entertaining “noisy” track vibe, where every nutty nugget of sound gets tossed in. Triangle Cloud also succumbs to some of the wandering synth piano/808 fiddling/panning synth bloop treatment. Win-San Western follows with an unexpected DnB journey, with plenty of Amen Break beats also. Police sounds like, perhaps, what a fly, on acid, with a taste for Progressive Trance, would trip if he were stuck to the grille of a cop car…maybe.
This album oozes character, and these are the types of albums I always come back to. They’re the tracks that, when your music is shuffling, you smile at. I certainly don’t like all of the tracks, but there are plenty here to love.
Noan23 – Fry Cook On Venus
First I’ve heard of this guy. Shame the album isn’t clean and that the promotional company clearly didn’t pay much attention to the FCC-clean tracks. The two tracks on the album I like, Fry Cook On Venus, and Old Dog, are certainly not airplay-able. It’s a shame, because while much of the album is plagued by whatever the “indie hip-hop” sound is supposed to be, those two really do work well for me.
Noah has an interesting presence on the mic, and when those beats are on, it’s on. Kinda reminds me of Sims, to be honest. He’s got a knack for storytelling, and the rhymes back him up.
Noah23 certainly has a place in Hip-Hop that needs to have strong acts like his. I think.
We Are Enfant Terrible – Explicit Pictures
Strange sound here that I’ve heard before, cringed at before, and deleted entire albums in minutes because of. WAET blend some kind of indie rock with 8-bit “chiptune” music, and don’t do it nearly as irritating as many other acts I’ve been unfortunate enough to hear. I don’t like, and have a hard time appreciating, dissonance. Tune is important to me.
Filthy Love, the second cut, made me hesitate and listen closer to the rest of the album. Shame it’s the strongest track, because it’s really good. I beat and bass guitar-heavy tunes with interesting vocals, but they’re so rarely done right. This one is.
The rest of the album generally goes by this formula: 8-bit intro then blend with guitars and drums with a synth. Cue vocals. Next track 3 minutes later. It’s a decent formula, really.
This is an interesting album, but pretty forgettable. I feel that it might grow on me with subsequent listens, but, if I’m honest, I don’t think I have the time to spend on it. I’m just glad that there’s at least one track worthy of play.
Groundislava – Groundislava
Well, yeah, the ground was lava at least once. No matter where you stand, you can be guaranteed that those atoms were once inside the molten Earth. It’s harder to know where I stand on this album. It’s got some interesting textures, and kinda sounds like a relaxed Exkmo at times. Panorama (feat. Weary) is an interesting track, though I prefer the Clive Tanaka remix to the album version.
I wish these guys would have chilled just a little. This album would be more enjoyable and listenable if the entire character of a track didn’t change 40 seconds in, then again another forty later. Young Lava or not, it’s annoying.
Final Impasse, Animal (feat. Weary), and the Clive Tanaka remix of Panorama are my favorite tracks and those I will be playing on air. They’ve got the elements that I love from this kind of music, without the schizophrenic changes or harshness many of the other tracks employ.
Mexicans With Guns – Highway to Hell
It’s got Freddie Gibbs. It’s got organs. It’s got lots of heavy basslines. I’m game.
Innerpartysystem – Never Be Content EP
These guys remind me of Daft Punk for some reason. Maybe it’s the synth voice. Maybe it’s the heavy use of sawtooth synth patterns. It’s almost danceable. I don’t like Daft Punk, or, generally speaking, tracks like American Trash.
I do like solid cuts like Out of Touch and Squid. It’s the solid beats, the prog house vocals and lyrics. I could speed these up about 30 BPM and they’d really be danceable. I like that. I want to hear more, and I am going to like a few of these tracks for a long time.
Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers
Eh. The first few cuts of this album have some interesting properties. When I’m Gone, On My Leve, Black and Yellow, and Wake Up are pretty solid, if only because the beats are good. Wiz hold up his end, I guess. These are the club tracks, so I’m being unusually kind because they’re actually done well.
The lyrics, through and through, are rubbish. I could give a damn how many bottles of (insert trendy liquor here) you buy at your table in the club, how you buy expensive clothes for your hoes, the stacks of money, and how you were misunderstood “back in the day”. It’s tripe. I could care less.
These are the kinds of cuts that I would play in a club, loud, because the bass is strong and the chorus is catchy. That’s pretty much it. Wiz is kinda worthless. Hell, even Del is more interesting than this cat. Don’t take my word for it, Ghostface Killah rates him #4 on his list of the ten “softest” rappers in the game. I see it.
Maybe I’ll get a club gig and bump some of these. Maybe.