Our column devoted to the beat-makers and rhyme-sayers, as well as producers and dance-floor innovators. Check in for our picks in everything from classic hip-hop to futurist R&B, minimal-techno back through crate-digger beat tapes, cutting edge synth-pop all the way to trap-music.
Future techno with a vintage glow from DJ KOZE:
German producer DJ Koze brings us a lush new full-length titled Knock Knock. It's a record with a proper minimal throb, very German, but repurposes some of the sounds an motifs of vintage soul and disco. The resulting mix is unique and pleasure rich, the whole thing provides an absolutely gorgeous subtly layered atmosphere.
Seattle's DONORMAAL twists the hip-hop formula:
We're proud to have LP copies of 3rd Daughter the adventurous new full-length from Seattle rapper DoNormaal, released last month by Crane City Music. This one is full of spirit and urgency, it feels perfectly of now. Inventive and deconstructed beats back a rare mix of swagger and insight. This may be our favorite of the current crop of Seattle hip-hop.
CHRIS ORRICK's salt-of-the-Earth raps:
Portraits is the new records from Michigan rapper Chris Orrick. We joke around the shop that records like this are "old-guy rap," but to us this style will never get old. The production is classic boom-bap with creatively flipped dusty soul samples, and Chris, as a rapper, is an introspective story teller. We get plain spoken tales that are equal parts self examination and state-of-our-world observations. Fans of prime era Rhymesayers and Rawkus take note.
Beat driven mind expansion from JON HOPKINS:
We've always loved playing Jon Hopkins' records here in the shop, from ambient collaborations with Brian Eno to the more dancefloor focused Immunity. Singularity is a welcome addition to the catalog. Always an inventive producer, this album has an excellent sonic range, swinging from from crisp synths to glitchy distortion. The artist himself says this is a record designed to follow the flow of a psychedelic experience, we say it succeeds.
Foggy funk from Hot Chip's ALEXIS TAYLOR:
The voice of Hot Chip, Mr. Alexis Taylor, offers up a fresh solo outing with Beautiful Thing on the Domino label. Fans of his main band's indie flecked electro-funk should tune-in. His solo output is maybe a touch more adventurous, still disco infatuated, and still wildly enjoyable. Do listen to the attached title-track and single.
Griity downer rap from LOJII & SWARVY:
Rapper lojii was one of my favorite discoveries so far this year. Let's call it noir rap. I've long loved the laid-back but hard as hell deliveries of Roc Marciano & Ka, and this reminds me a lot of that style. Woozy raw production from producer Swarvy puts this one in over the top. Totally excellent.