Sunday, April 29, 2012

I had An Accident Records x 5

Recieving music from I had An Accident Records is always interesting. I never really know what to expect so each time I sit down to listen, I have to do so with an open mind. This time around no less than 5 releases appeared more or less at the same time so I was in for a real listening session.
First tape to get a listen was Intermediate State (Enter) by Andrew Felix. I really quite like this. It's very hypnotic and meditational. In the press release it's described that "(Enter) mirrors the transcendental feelings of luminosity and rebirth. The ebb and flow of your breath as you fade away into yourself, eyes closed as your worries melt away". And that description is very much spot on. It is a record that you should listen to in headphones sitting or laying down, just letting the soundscape wash over you. Beautiful and very peaceful.
Next up was Double Reserve by big Epoch & Gothic Cholo. Twisted lyrics spread over chopped up and distorted beats. It's like a dark sonic jungle where only the strong and sane survives, and even though it's initially is a bit hard to get into it, quite soon I'm caught up in the musical web enjoying every twist and turn that the music takes me.
And the listening pleasure didn't stop there because then it was time to listen to SHVDOW by BL/\CK CEILING. And this one I really like from the get go. From the first second you're getting transported to a place of evil. I'm not a movie director, but listening to this tape makes me wish that I could write the perfect movie script, just so I could use this as the soundtrack. And it wouldn't be a feelgood kind of movie, I can assure you! But lacking a movie to enjoy this to, it also works perfectly in my headphones walking around on dark city streets.
dreams of ways of killing her by heart heart julia is by far the trickiest tape to review of them all. It's 16 minutes of distorted music and noise that is not all entirely pleasant to listen to. But at the same time there is something about it that makes me not want to turn it off. It lures the listener into listening extra carefully, and somewhere under the layers of dreamy vocals and sounds lies quite beautiful melodies that creeps under your skin in a rather satisfying way. Perhaps not something that you will enjoy after one listen, but give it some time and I'm sure that you will find something in it that will attract you.
Finally it was then time for Double Doom by Coyote Clean Up. It's really interesting sometimes to see what makes you like or dislike certain music. It's even more interesting when you can't quite explain why you're not feeling the songs. That is the case here. Double Doom is not bad, and I can really understand people liking it, but it's too lightweight to do anything for me. It's like cholesterol free house music. The foundations are right, but it all lacks the structure that makes it a bit extra.

Andrew Felix: 6.5/10
big Epoch & Gothic Cholo: 7/10
BL/\CK CEILING: 7.5/10
heart heart julia: 6/10
Coyote Clean Up: 4.5/10

Soundtrack to Week 17

Saturday, April 28, 2012

edison - A Cure for the Case of the Wealthies

A brand new video from edison. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bigg Jus - Machines That Make Civilization Fun

Bigg Jus is back! And with him comes one of the best albums I have heard this year. He is one of the few artists that blow me away everytime he releases something. Ever since the days of Company Flow, he has ruled the underground with his rhyme style and his productions. He might not be one of the most productive cats out there, but he doesn't really have to be. Every time he drops something, he sets the bar for other emcees and groups out there and they have to play catch up to even try to get close to what he's doing.
I could easily talk about this album for ages, but that would only be a waste of your time. Time you should use to buy Machines That Make Civilization Fun and enjoy one of the best albums that will drop this year. Out on the 8th of May on the always amazing Mush Records.
Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sixo - Free Floating Rationales

About a month ago I reviewed the Tracking Perception EP for Starving Raptors. Now the full length Free Floating Rationales is out on Fake Four Inc. Sixo, or Scotty Trimble as his real name is, is the latest edition to the label's roster. This former motocross pro is a master at serving up really laidback and beautiful tracks with just the right amount of nerve touching notes to make every song special and dreamy. And with guests such as Ceschi, Awol One, Gregory Pepper, Poindexter and Existereo 13, he is delivering a record that shows his true strength as a producer, and he's definitely up there with people like Factor when it comes to floating emotional beats and productions. A true gem not to be slept on.
Rating: 6.5/10

Gajah - Poverty's Prodigy

It's a good time now for fans of Acid Reign. About a month ago BeOND dropped his album EverYThingZ BacKWardS, and now it's time for Gajah to release his latest offering Poverty's Prodigy. What we're getting here is a very personal and strong album dealing with subjects such as poverty and struggle as well as hopefullness, survival and inner personal strengths. Dealing with subjects like this there's always a risk that the music itself suffers sometimes, but luckily enough that's not the case here. Gajah is good enough an emcee and entertainer to remember that great albums can both deal with serious subject matters and make your head nod at the same time.
Together with producers such as Mute Speaker, Gajah has produced a really good album that deserves as much attention as possible, especially in a time when underground hip hop gets more and more interested in being hipster than actually making anything interesting. 
Rating: 6.5/10

Monday, April 23, 2012

Home - Lone

Some exciting news indeed! On the 7th of May decorative stamp is releasing yet another sonic and visual bomb. This time in the form of the debut album from Home. Some of you might recognize that name from papervehicle, one of the finest groups to come out the last few years.  After listening to the track Author, I'm sure we're in for a real treat when Lone drops. Keep an eye out for this one, and also expect a review here when the time is right.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Soundtrack to Week 16

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Prince Mackerel - Six Sick Sicks

Prince Mackerel is one of those emcees that there are plenty of out there. He got a nice flow, his lyrics are fine and the productions that he choses to rap over are all good. But there is nothing special about it all. You have heard this record a 1000 times before, and therefor there is unfortunately no reason to pick up Six Sick Sicks. If you want to support Australian hip hop, you are more than welcome to check out this one, but there are much finer albums out there if you ask me.

Rating: 4/10

Friday, April 20, 2012

Death Grips - The Money Store

Death Grips are probably one of the most hyped acts at the moment. A hype I could definitely understand after the album Exmilitary. So The Money Store was an album I really looked forward to, and after the first listen I was really pleased. Unfortunately after each listen my smile slowly melted away and now, after about 6 listens, I'm quite bored. There are some real killer tracks on the album such as Get Got, The Fever (Aye Aye) and Punk Weight. But the album as a whole consists of too many weak productions and let's be frank here, MC Ride might be a charismatic front figure, but he's a really mediocre emcee and a boring vocalist in the long run. I will give them cred though for doing their thing, but this won't be an album I will listen to in a couple of weeks time. I recommend you to make a mix tape of their best tracks instead, and skip the rest.

Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

J-Zone - Root for the Villain

Looking for an entertaining read? Check out J-Zone's Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure. Smiled all the way through it.

DOS4GW - Suicide

DOS4GW is a producer currently living in Melbourne, Australia. I first heard about him as part of The Community, but never actually heard any of his music until about two weeks ago when I saw him perform at a club in town. What we get from this guy is hard hitting beats with a bass to splinter wood with. But what is refreshing is that he's not about noise, as he constructs tunes with just as much melody as anything else. I quite aware that this is not everyone's cup of tea, but to me his music is like a cup of chai latte. Smooth, lovely with a great twist that makes you want to come back for more.
Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interview #17 - Prosperous

Keeping Us Conscious

A true multi talented artist gives us a brief story about his life, all the way from live performances in the shower to the projects of tomorrow. I'm proud to share with you, my friend and fellow countryman; Mattias Ekberg a.k.a. Prosperous.
You’re far from a newcomer on the scene, I suppose there are quite a few people out there who don’t have a clue about who you really are. Would you mind telling is a little bit about Prosperous, both the artist and the person?
I was born in 1978 and grew up in Karlskrona, Sweden, which was highly effected by several subcultures in 80’s, in spite of its small size. In school I used to look up to the older guys who were into breaking and graffiti, but also skateboarding. In the late 80’s me and my friends were mainly into skateboarding, but hip hop was always there, in the boombox and in the whole way that we presented ourselves. First I was listening to Run DMC, LL Cool J and Public Enemy, but then I got some new friends from another part of the city, who was down with Native Tongues, The Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, Hieroglyphics and more alternative hip hop. At this time in the early 90's I was rapping for myself in the bathroom, in the shower, but never in public. In 1993 I found myself bored during math class, and started writing my own lyrics in secret. Pretty soon rhymes started coming out of me at parties and gatherings, but never on stage. In 1995 I started recording on any dope beat I came across, putting it on tape that only a few people got to hear. I hooked up with DJ Porter and found out he was making his own beats, and had all the equipment we needed to make our own music.  We started the group Plant of Trails and became a name in the Swedish underground. My first performance was in 1996 when Promoe from Looptroop handed me the mic at this packed jam in a basement, little did the people know that I was a hidden secret with flows. I started to perform with Plants of Trails at a lot of places at this time. We were mostly in it for the fun, since there wasn't really a scene where we came from. The social enviroment we were part of was so versatile, we hung out with musicians of all kinds, which you could hear in our music and attitude. In the late 90's we started a group called Assimilated Species with Nadasdi, took things to the next level, skilled and self-confident enough to aim all over the map, with a style of our own not giving a fuck about expectations. I moved to Gothenburg in 2000 with my brother Smea, who started TE Records so that we could release masses of cassettes and cd's on our own. Soon there were more of us, so we started the Cerebral Fobia crew. I became a lead player in an underground rollercoaster rap career with only one interest, to crush and manipulate the scene from all angles. It was often about experimentation musically, so I collaborated with producers from other scenes that most rappers hadn't even heard of. In 2004 I got signed by iDEAL Recordings as the only hiphop artist, to make my first totally self made album. I reached a new audience and realised I was more of a solo artist. I collaborated with 247 Records in 2004 to create a project blending my crew with some of the dopest on the Californian underground scene, called it Amphibian Swap and released an album, with the famous Tropiczone Swap sequel, which made us more or less world famous. I created the group Ortho Acusto with Pelpa Karnaval (Fra) in 2008 and was part of the Briefcaserockers crew for a while. Since then I've just continued this adventurous ride as a solo artist releasing albums, loving it all the way.
How come you decided to give your producer persona, Comb, a different stage name?
Comb was originally my graffiti tag back in 1995, since I always kept a “lucky comb” in my back pocket. When I started making my own beats in 1998 it felt natural to call myself Comb. It was already deeply rooted in my persona, which was divided in so many parts, where the rapper Prosperous was only one.
While the majority of Swedish emcees at least once have dabbled with rhyming in Swedish, you seem to be one of the few who never went that route. Was that a conscious decision, to stick to one language?
When I started out in the mid 90's most rappers in Sweden rapped in English, it wasn't even something that we thought about that much, it was all about reaching everyone. Hip hop was really more of a subculture back then, and when the people in your close environment consists of people of many nationalities, it seems pointless secluding 30-50% of them by rapping in Swedish, especially when you think every word you say is that important. Another reason is that the Swedish language is full of sharp consontants which makes it sound a bit rocky, but that's another story. I think a lot of Swedish rappers master it very well, but it's just not my thing. I leave it to them and I really don't want to limit myself to a smaller audience when hip hop is a universal thing and my audience has turned out to be bigger than that.
You’re without a doubt one of the most productive artists out there at the moment. You just released The Brainchild and it’s your 13th full length album. Not too many artists release that many in their entire career while you on the other hand seem to only have begun. How important is it for you to make and record music and release it in various forms?
My whole philosophy is about spreading awareness, which makes recording very important. It's about documentation for this generation and the others to come. It doesn't matter if people don't get my music now, I record so that my words are forever. The reason that I record so much is simply because I make a lot of music during certain periods. It's not a strategy, I'm just the vessle for what comes through me from my surroundings, a reflection of these times if you will.
What do you want to accomplish with your music?
I'm really a visionaire who wanna spread awareness. I don't wanna tell people what to do, I just wanna make them look at the big picture, reflect it from point of views outside of the realms of the obvious that you already see in massmedia. I'm also trying to give people the same feeling I get when I listen to wonderful music, it's all about giving something back to the scene.
How would you describe your music and could you briefly tell us about the music-making process?
I think my music is a fusion of everything around me. I listen to so many kinds of music, get inspired by so many things, and what you hear is all that filtered through me. It's that simple. I would put names on it to describe, but I think it only reduces the broadness, so I let others do that instead. Usually when I make music I've got struck by inspiration, and it all happens in a rush. I'm not the artist who re-record and rethink my creation. It's all about capturing the moment and putting it out there. A lot of my verses for example are written very fast as I've been given a beat that inspired me massively enough to record it in hours, and have it sent back to the producer, who is often left very surprised. Sometimes it takes a while to finish a song, you shouldn't force inspiration, but as soon as I've written a song I usually get down to it right away.
What are some of your influences?
This is a big question since I get inspired all and every day by exactly everything. My mind is a gaping hole, kind of like the jaw of a whale just sucking it in. Musically I get very inspired by everything from jazz to 60's psychadelic music, everything that makes my mind wander freely. I like listening to easy listening music with less distractions, giving space. I'm not afraid of silence, silence is the result of all the commotion, and it's necessary for all kinds of understanding.  I'm also inspired by movies, which you can hear in a lot of my music. Another inspiration is society as a whole, and how it evolves. At the moment I'm quite fed up with all self fullfilling prophecies going on, putting people in the position as victims. There's so many rap groups rapping about the end of the world, almost as if exploiting it. The very awareness about how fucked up things are in the world right now is important, and I'm with it. But after a while of preaching about judgement day I think it's also time for sollutions, which I would like to see more of lyrically today. I'm not really politically involved lyrically since my perspective is more universal, but I see things clearly and I try to reflect that in a way so that the listener can wake up and get inspired to do something on their own, knowing that they're not as small and meaningless as the corrupt mainstream tells them. I have different ways of doing this, where zooming out from the Earth and all of its problems, to put it in perspective, so that it almost looks cute and easy to handle, is one way. I encourage anyone to stand up for their cause, since the world is what you make of it. One of the things I do is rapping, it's the tool I've been given, and I'm gonna use it to spread good energy, instead of abusing it, to gain from it.
Do you have any other passions besides music?
Passion is very important yes, I try to surround myself with passionate people, whatever their passion is. I usually go skateboarding and socialise with different kinds of people. I have a daughter that I love so much, I live through her. I also love food, especially hot food. Food is reason enough to stay alive on this earth for me. I think I'll open a restaurant one of these days.
How did you end up releasing The Brainchild through the Finnish label Hiss Tapes?
Jani at Hiss Tapes contacted me and wanted to release this limited edition. It feels great cause I used to spread tapes back in the days, just going out, meeting people and promote myself like that. It’s that time again and I’m greatful!
What are some of your dreams and hopes for the future?
Just continuous exploration musically, living prosperous in the true sense, calling things to existence, and to one day be that old man getting an award of some kind, for doing it his own way, hehe...
Any musical memories that you would like to share?
On New Years eve 2001 I was rapping, backed up by George Clemons, who played with Jimi Hendrix for a while. He usually kicked people of the stage saying - Get off my stage whitey! (if they sucked). I got to stay, that was dope.
Any upcoming projects that you’re working on?
I'm currently recording with THMS from Stockholm (New Cocoon, Milled Pavement) and also got plans for smokey131 (Germany). Other than that I just started this new group called Nightschool with this upcoming talent called Nexone, we got a free single coming out any day that's very dope. Olonaise is releasing a compilation of our best songs together, with some new versions and beats. Last up is my collaboration with the local crew called Maldiverna, where I'm dropping some verses. Expect an EP soon.
Shout outs?
I wanna give a shout out to everyone who has inspired me through the years, and hello to Taze Russell, Smea, Olonaise, Nadasdi, Rodan, Peshi, Bobby at 247, iDEAL Recordings, Dynamo414, F.D.A.S.F.D.A., Rite, G at Panik, Subtitle, Pelpa Karnaval, Albane Simon, Börft Records, Crinan, Fabsoul, THMS, smokey131, contemporary punk music, Access Hip Hop, Vanntoft, Haywire, Advocrates and on and one…

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gescha - Collapse

New video from Gescha, and as always he's coming with the good stuff. The song is taken from his upcoming album The House of Danesti.

jel - Greenball 3.5

It's been kind of quiet when it comes to solo material from jel these last years. He's been quite busy with things like themselves, 13&God as well as producing tracks for other people, but now it's finally time for a new release from one of our finest beat makers. And Greenball 3.5 is a really nice welcome back from him. It's a short record clocking in just over 21 minutes, but that's not a negative thing. At least since we still get 13 tracks that most producers out there today would kill to be able to put their name to. He once again shows that he's a master when it comes to the MPC, and by releasing such a short album he just makes us long for more. Yet another great release from Jeffrey Logan and Fieldwerk Recordings. Now I'm only hoping for a new record from themselves or 13&God.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Soundtrack to Week 15

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Interview #16 - oskar ohlson

Not Your Everyday Funky Drummer

Some producers never really gets the attention that they deserve. Let's change that, let them get the spotlight too. People like oskar ohlson should be talked about. 
For those who haven’t heard about you, would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
I´m a drummer/beatsmith/”producer” from Mainz, Germany, who calls himself oskar ohlson. I´ve been creating music, solo and in different bands/projects for quite a while now. Releasing it since 2007. I´m also member and co-founder of the knertz-collective.
How would you describe your music and could you briefly tell us about the music-making process?
As probably anybody who likes to experiment with music a little, I find it hard to describe my music. Also I like to switch styles for different projects or people I work with. So that doesn't make it any easier. But generally i´d say I make experimental “knertzy” pop music. If that makes any sense. Since I work with lots of rappers, something like weirdo-knertz-hop might work as well.... I don´t know. Generally I like my music to be playful and not too serious.
As for the music-making process, usually I start recording some ideas at home, those ideas get arranged into rough demos, if I like what I have I develop em further. Often I have my friends contribute to the music as well. that´s generally what can be said about my "music-making process." Basically, it´s very different from song to song/project to project.
Inspirations? Both in life and in music.
I´m not sure I reflect as much about inspirations in life, as I do about musical ones. And thinking about it I´m not sure I would make two separated groups of em. Yeah, but generally there´s a lot of music and artists I adore. I´ll give you a list and try to keep it short:
As for non musical inspirations, I like people as diverse as Bukowski, Philip K. Dick or Alan Moore. Generally I´m really into comics, and could probably give you a list of comic creators and creations as long and diverse as the music list. But I will spare you....
Most people think of you as only being a producer, but as I gathered your first passion was being a drummer. Would you mind telling us a bit more about that?
I started playing drums when I was much younger, I don´t remember. 11 maybe? Not sure. As soon as I could hold a beat I started playing with friends. Back then we played punk/hardcore stuff, later more post rockish, and then more experimental stuff. The last two bands I played in (the latah movement and Droll Academy) both have an album on knertz. After those two disbanded, I focused mainly on my solo stuff and some projects (like Pumpernickle and The Unteleported Asteroid). However, I´m still the drummer when we do oskar ohlson live sets with a small band.
You’re also deeply involved in the community/label knertz. Could you perhaps share some of that history with us?
knertz was founded around 2006 by com.pare and me. We first met at a show of latah movement and his band fnessnej, and we connected immediately. knertz was started to conjoin all of our different projects with the projects of some like-minded friends. At first we were mainly Mainz/Darmstadt based, but after a while the collective grew rather naturally mainly through collaborations. We organize our self-releasing through knertz, and help each other out with booking shows and other stuff. Also, there´s a lot of collaboration between the members. Not only in musical things, but also on artwork, videos and so on. Both the collective, as well as the idea of what it can be, keep growing. The homepage gives an overview of what knertz is so far....
Since you work with a lot of vocalists, even on your own solo records, do you have a say in when it came to the lyrics and topics presented on the songs?
Again, that really depends. Usually I´d say that my contribution is the music, while the lyrics come from whoever performs them. Since I do the music first, I´m setting some kind of mood, but how that is interpreted by the vocalist is mostly out of my hand. On a very rare occasion, I get asked what I intended for the concept to be. On bigger projects (like the Pumpernickle stuff, and the releases with babelfishh) we talk a little about ideas, maybe conceptual ones, like the childhood theme in Pumpernickle. Except for that, I have little to nothing to do with the lyrics. Of course, I usually work with artists whose lyrics I really like.
You recently worked with David Ramos on La Tua Mancanza. How did that collaboration come about and what response have you got so far?
That all happened through David's brother Ceschi. I first met Ceschi when we supported him live with Pumpernickle. Later I sent him some beats, and some of those ended up in David's hands. One day I had an email from David telling me that I have two songs with him, and asking if I wanted to work on some more. Luckily I liked what he did, so I wanted to. In total we produced 8 songs together (2 of which will be exclusive to a 7” EP to be released probably shortly before the album on fake four). I´m really happy with the outcome and I´m looking forward to people´s reactions. I haven´t had too many reactions yet, but what I´m getting so far is only positive. The album in a whole is a very touching and personal record, and I´m happy to be a small part of it.
It’s been a while since we saw a solo release from you. What have you got in the works for the future?
Yeah, I´m always getting lost in the bigger projects and that way I don´t get enough material for my next “solo” album. I've wanted to make another one for quite a while now, and eventually there will be one… But right now the things I really have sunken my teeth into are the following:
For one- we´re slowly getting to the finish line for our next babelfishh and oskar ohlson release. It´s difficult to say when and what exactly right now, but we will release something new this year, and there also will be more touring with babelfishh this summer. Yay!
Then, we have a new project/live set for which winterismyname took over vocal duties. So far we´re playing those songs only live, but there will a be a record at some point. This new stuff is way less hip hoppy than anything else I have done as oskar ohlson. It´s quite refreshing. Reactions have been good so far. The shows we play this summer will have both babelfishh and winterismyname songs.
We´re also working on another new project with james reindeer and winterismyname. There will be an album sometime in the not too far future I hope, but it´s definitely too early to tell you much more. So far we´re still in the creative process, and collecting songs. But it's going great!
There´s lots of other plans... but it´s way too early to even mention them.
What are you up to when you’re not making music?
Listening to music, going to shows... Haha. And like I said earlier, I really enjoy comics and read those a lot. I handle the mail-order duties of knertz. I have a job. I like being lazy as well, and wish I had more time for that...
Being from Germany, what are your views on the music climate in your country?
I´m not really sure I have a certain view on the German music climate. It´s fun to think about the history of underground music in ones country or any country for that matter. Connecting the dots and stuff. But in the end, I guess Germany, just like every other country, has it´s few really interesting acts mixed under a lot of mediocre and bad ones. I wouldn't say that right now there's a particular strength to the German music scene, but I don´t hate it either. it´s a mixed bag….
The network side works well though! We meet a lot of very nice folks who organize shows, or are active in some other way. That´s great, and from what I´ve heard there´s many places where touring is much more difficult. Of course it could always be better, but for us things have been working out...
Any finishing words for the readers?
Mmm, I guess not.
That´s all, folks!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Soundtrack to Week 14

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Phesto Dee - The Background

Almost 20 years after the first Souls of Mischief album, it's time for Phesto Dee to release his first full length under his own name. Background Check. As expected from such a well renowned emcee and producer, we get nothing but quality beats and rhymes here. But there's something missing here. Something that would make this an album that you return to at least a couple of time. But unfortunately that's not the case. It's quality but it's also lack of anything really interesting at all. So personally I must admit, this is one of those records that will forever collect dust in my collection. Filed under "Not interesting or good enough".
Rating: 5/10

Thursday, April 05, 2012

A Band of Buriers - Slides By

My favourite lads A Band of Buriers have now released the first video from their upcoming album Filth. And it's the amazing track Slides By that I have posted here earlier as a live track. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Quakers - Quakers

Quakers is a collective consisting of 35 artists with the producers Geoff Barrow, 7-Stu-7 (Portishead's engineer) and Australian producer Katalyst as the musical backbone. Amongst the emcees we find people such as Guilty Simpson, Dead Prez, Dave Dub, MED, Prince Po and Aloe Blacc. Yes, we're talking about a literal superteam consisting of some of the finest emcees we have today. And the 41 song long album is solid quality all the way through. 
We get the bangers, the more soulful tracks as well as the more bouncy beats and it all melts together as a very good mixtape. And that is kind of the only problem with this. It doesn't really feel like a "real" album, it sounds like a mixtape and nothing else. But with that being said I also have to say that few mixtapes out there ever come close to the quality of this one. Definitely worth checking out!.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Soundtrack to Week 13