Saturday, June 9, 2012

Against - Winter Sun EP

Winter Sun EP
Against


Ukrainian Drum n' Bass producer Against released his first solo EP on Soul Deep Recordings, and it is definitely a keeper. While DnB mixes are usually upbeat and are the sonic equivalent of adrenalin, the tracks on the Winter Sun EP are extremely calming. Most of the songs ease the mind with soft humming bass drones in the background. The EP opens with Colour Control. In the background you will find a sporadic and barely audible bass thump nicely placed within the spaces of the drum beats. An occasional airy synth plays and adds a nice soft element to the mix. A vocal sample echoes and fades away in the outro to lead into the dark piano/organ notes that open on Eastern Express. Here, a haunting Burial style vocal sample comes in after a break from the drum beat creating an excellent climax point. The following title track intros with an astral drone interlaced with soft trumpet blares while the drum beat follows moments later, leading you through the rest of the song with occasional breaks. The last mix titled Hidden Element & Against is not shy; unlike the other tracks, it opens immediately with the main drum beat and is followed suit by an escalating organ style synth. A break, followed by yet another echoic vocal sample drives you back into the drum beat accompanied with the soft bass hum. Against has taken a grand minimalist approach to the production of this EP and the result is a unique and soothing DnB sound.

oOoOO - Our Love Is Hurting Us

Our Love Is Hurting Us
oOoOO


This fantastic 2012 release from witch house pioneer oOoOO (pronounced "Oh") plays host to haunting synths, thick and sluggish drum beats, and hypnotic dark vocals. His second EP via Tri-Angle records has that spectral sound that you would expect, yet it goes above and beyond. The opening track titled TryTry lays chopped up vocals over a slowed hip hop beat, consisting of a metallic clap and heavy droning drums. On the second track, fellow dark dreampop artist Butterclock offers her vocals on Springs while oOoOO lays down a beat laced with classic witch house escalating snares. As the songs draws to a close, you can hear the vocals slowly melt away to let the drums finish off the track. The outro leads nicely into Starr which opens with a beat using an almost uncomfortable time signature to grab your attention. Vocal samples are presented with their pitch drastically lowered as they blend nicely with the background atmospherics. An ecstatic electric guitar appears seemingly out of nowhere to add a very interesting element to the song. The next track titled Break Yr Heartt, is possibly the most entrancing on the EP. The song opens with a dark beat and background bass throbs, and beautiful feminine vocals shine through around 30 seconds in. oOoOO successfully uses autotune to add an ethereal quality to the already heavenly voice. Butterclock returns on NoWayBack, the last track on Our Love Is Hurting Us. oOoOO really creates a ghostly soundscape by running Butterclock's voice through dreamy filters and adding an ominous windy sound repeating in the background. Our Love Is Hurting Us finishes on a strong note and is solid throughout, and oOoOO does a tremendous job creating an eerie yet lulling vibe.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Krampfhaft - Makin' Magic EP

Makin' Magic EP
Krampfhaft


If EPs are thought of as short and sweet, than you might need to see dentist after listening to the Makin' Magic EP. Dutch producer Kramfhaft delivers an amazing EP taking EDM and mixing it with the light and classy elements of dubstep. While you wont find any bass drops here, a beautiful spacey synth is present on nearly every track, with echoing bass drones placed in the background. It starts off with I Needed You, which opens with a sweet vocal sample. The synth in this song blares with a sequence reminiscent of an alarm. In the middle of the EP, the calming title track is a breather and digresses from the rest of the album. It is the only track on the EP to not use the signature synth. The bonus track Faux Art is definitely a lively club song that sticks to the EDM genre.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kay the Aquanaut - Waterloo


1) Vote Hungry
2) I Keep Studying
3) Glory (featuring Nolto)
4) A Different World
5) Kill You (featuring Sole
6) Nemo (featuring Ceschi)
7) Glass Slipper
8) Unsatisfactory (featuring Gescha)
9) John Wayne
10) Walk the Earth (featuring Cam the Wizzard)
11) Window Seat (featuring Def3)
12) Textbooks
13) Ballad Of The C.E.O
Waterloo
Kay the Aquanaut


Kay the Aquanaut is a prominent rapper from the Canadian hip hop scene. His album Waterloo was released on Circle Into Square and displays his impressive wordplay and his unique accent. On Waterloo, Kay raps about various political and social issues with a passion that reminds one of war cries. His inflections and rhymes reiterate his message in each song. For example on the track Vote Hungry, he furiously reminds us that it is the people, and not the government who have the power. While his messages are strong, his flow and lyrical skill are even more impressive. See I Keep Studying. Here, he goes berserk with his flow; It appears as if breathing is just an option when he is rapping. There are lots of features on this album, and many of which are not very well known. Of them, a rapper by the name of Def3 stands out. He appears on the track Window Seat and nearly outshines Kay with a flow that incorporates pauses to put emphasis on certain lines. Window Seat also features a relaxing beat that gives you a break from the "get up and take action" feel throughout the whole album. Waterloo is a great addition to anyone's indie rap library. And plus, that album art is not too shabby.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cage - Movies For The Blind


1) Morning Drips
2) Escape To 88
3) (Down) The Left Hand Path
4) Teenage Death
5) Too Much
6) In Stoney Lodge
7) Probably Causes Paranoia
8) The Soundtrack...
9) Among The Sleep
10) Agent Orange
11) A Suicidal Failure
12) Ck Won
13) Unlike Tower 1
14) Under Satan's Authority
15) A Crowd Killer
16) The Right Out
17) Holdin A Jar 2
18) Pussy, Money and War
Movies For The Blind
Cage


DefJux rapper Cage's first studio LP is one raw record. On nearly every track you can feel his anger towards drugs, his step dad, rival MCs, depression, and more. His fury pours onto finely crafted lyrics and wordplay. "Why is he so angry?" you might ask. Well this guy's life has not been easy. He had a history of abuse as a child, detention in mental hospitals, and problems with PCP. However what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. This is clear on the first listen of Movies For The Blind. Cage does not hold back at all on this album. Movies For The Blind starts off with a strange dialogue by Cage of his drug routine. Then you are immediately dumped onto a scratchy beat by DJ Mighty Mi, who produced most of the album. Songs like "Too Much", "In Stoney Lodge", and "The Soundtrack..." give you insight into Cage's mind. He uses intriguing word play to tell you about the banes of his life. While it might seem boring to listen to a bunch of songs about some guy's woes, the story as a whole is something intriguing. Also, Cage's delivery does not disappoint. "Among The Sleep" is a softer track with an amazing beat produced by none other than RJD2. In this song, Cage depicts a story where PCP combined with suicidal tendencies creates nightmares where he can't tell if he is awake or asleep. "Agent Orange" takes a slight detour from the rest of the album and depicts Cage as a crazy lunatic MC who is not to be fucked with. Movies For The Blind makes for a great album themed on drugs and hate. While this might not appeal to everyone, Cage's talent on this thing is unbridled and anyone who is a fan of hip hop should at least give Movies For The Blind a try.

Johnson&Johnson


1) Finally
2) Up All Night
3) Half A Knot
4) Mama Always Told Me
5) Go For The Gusto Room
6) Wow
7) The Only Way
8) In The Building
9) Bout It Bout It
10) Get The Name Straight
11) Long Time Gone
12) Still Up All Night
13) Perfect Picture
14) Anything Is Possible
15) The Oath
16) Bonus - Hold On John
Johnson&Johnson
Johnson&Johnson


The self titled debut album from Johnson&Johnson (aka hip hop duo MC Blu and producer Mainframe), is a lively record. A stark contrast to Below the Heavens, (which features jazzy, soulful, almost melancholy beats by Exile), Johson&Johnson will get you up out of your chair with the upbeat, funky production. From the thumping bass guitar used in "Up All Night", to the classic drum n' clap style "Get the Name Straight", Mainframe's production steers Blu's flow into a more animated territory.  Interluded in the excitement are a few relaxing tracks. "Bout It Bout It", for example features a beat centered around a slowly strummed guitar. The bonus track titled "Hold on John" is rather special. It stages Blu on top of the instrumental to Hold On by John Lennon. While this album may not be at exactly the same level as Below The Heavens, it is special in it's own right. Johnson&Johnson makes for a solid album which debuts a "funkier" side of Blu thanks to Mainframe. You will not regret lending this your ear.