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.
Beak is the 21st century outlet for Portishead's Geoff Barrow and company, and >>> is the third full-length from the project. You can recognize the nocturnal groove obsession from his Portishead days, but Beak is a touch more grimy. They toss krautrock, psych, and post-rock sounds into their hybrid mix with a touch of grit and a very live sound. It's moody, propulsive stuff custom built for the underground.
The Internet Hive Mind
When I first heard of The Internet, I naively wrote them off as a minor offshoot of the Odd Future collective, and now years later with Hive Mind they've released one of the finest records made by that collection of artists. This is infectious modern R&B; equal parts laid-back and sultry, it's perfect summertime music. It's a crowd pleaser too, play this everywhere.
Nicki Minaj Queen
Nicki's back and she's defending her title on Queen. This is probably her purest "rap" record thus far, and that's fine by us. This one's sprawling and diverse, covering a lot of the modes she's dabbled in on her previous outings. From the Pitchfork review: "The connections between past and present, between style and form, make Queen feel like her most creatively honest album. "
Kuniyuki Takahashi Early Tape Works (1986 - 1993) Vol. 2
Deep house producer Kuniyuki Takahashi gets a proper reissue anthology series from the always interesting Music From Memory label. With Early Tape Works (1986 - 1993) Vol. 2 we dive into his first forays into his streamlined minimalist ambient house productions. Deviating from the label's established ethos to release ambient and experimental music from contemporary electronic dance, techno, and house producers, Takahashi's albums are more of a journey back to the source.
Steve Hauschildt Dissolvi
Steve Hauschildt, who cut his teeth with the excellent ambient/noise outfit Emeralds, is a synthesizer obsessive with a few great records to his name. With the highly collaborative Dissolvi we get just a touch more propulsion behind the lovely washes of sound and arpeggio. The sounds rides the edge of vintage and modern to perfection, making for a very chill listening experience.
Onda De Amor - Synthesized Brazilian Hits
This isn't the first time the Soundway label has dropped a mind blowing compilation of jams on us, this time they're scouring the late 80s / early 90s Brazilian music scene to pull out a record's worth of should-have-been-hits. These cuts fringe synth-pop, boogie, house, and tropical club music. Very high quality stuff here, we're constantly reminded by labels like Soundway how deep the well of unheard excellent global sounds truly is!
Kanye West Ye
Kanye sure makes it hard to be a fan sometimes (maybe a lot of the time.) But he's got that spark, and we've just got to give a listen. This was a contentious record, but there are some cuts on here, a little bit of that old Kanye. He's working without boundaries these days, and it can be good and bad and strange, but it makes for an interesting listen!