How about a hefty dose from Alias! Today we feature a broad sampling from Alias’s discography, beginning with remixes from his brand-spanking new remix collection, coincidentally titled Collected Remixes. Alias is anything but generic when it comes to producing his music. He adds so much more to his remix projects than a throwaway beat. He makes each song his own with his signature atmospherics and keyboard work—from reworking indie stalwart John Vanderslice to dropping the low end on Lali Puna’s bjÃ¶rk-core to goblet-shattering levels.
Alias stands head and shoulders above most hip-hop producers because rather than relying on sampling Alias implements live and electronic instrumentation. He still taps the past for inspiration as evidenced by the Black Celebration era riff of “Cobblestone Waltz,” a track recorded with his brother Ehren for their collaborative instrumental album, Lillian. And don’t miss his work with Rona “Tarsier” Rapadas. It’s anything but a sidenote. His colorful production gently lifts her already lush and soaring vocals. There’s plenty here to digest, but just a few songs in you’ll hear how Alias, like several of his fellow Bay Area beat-heads, has single-handedly broadened the boundaries of hip-hop, revealing its rich possibilities.
Continue reading “Alias”
Chicago-born, Oakland-based beatmaker extraordinaire, Jeffrey Logan, aka Jel, is “a man whose heart is equally divided between the clouds and the streets.” Jel made his way out West with his trusty drum machine, the SP1200, and forged an entire sound and label — Anticon — with his driving passion and skills. And just so you know, he’s a master at the SP1200. He was one of the very first to play the drum machine live as an instrument, with little or no sequencing. Judging by these two tracks, Jel’s forthcoming album, Soft Money, promises to be a monster. Not since the city of Bristol unleashed a little band called Massive Attack has any collective threatened to take hip hop to yet another level. Another FYI: Jel’s also a member of Themselves, Subtle, and 13 & God. If you couldn’t tell, we’re fans.
Continue reading “Jel”
Two tracks from the essential Pedestrian album, Volume One: Unindian Songs. It mashes up modern day happenings and old school beats. The first cut an obvious homage to the Breakin’ films of ’84. Which films, our friend Matt Workman recently pointed out, were just released on DVD.
Continue reading “Pedestrian”
Why? hits full stride on their new Sanddollars EP. More straight-forward, sing-along melodies and hooky choruses replace the usual meandering, stumble-along style. Consider Why? the hip-hop generation’s answer to They Might Be Giants. And it couldn’t have happened a moment too soon…
Continue reading “Why?”
Remember the old Reese’s commercials? A woman holding an open jar of peanut butter turns the corner and runs into a man with a chocolate bar. “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” Tragedy is avoided when the two taste their happy accident. 13 & God is just as happy an accident. Formed when German glitch-popsters, The Notwist, and No. Cal.’s avant hip-hop duo, Themselves, were stranded while touring Canada. With time to kill and a penchant for collaborating, well, they made beautiful music together. On this track The Notwist flavor is dominant, but I expect Doseone (Themselves) a bit more on the mic for the album. “Two great tastes that (surprisingly) go great together.”
Continue reading “13 & God”
This kid that lives seven houses down from me has this dope, super clean Cadillac. One sticker graces its rear window, dead center: Anticon. My neighborhood certainly isn’t a hotbed of fellow fine music admirerers (it’s more prone to Amway-esque consultants), so this discovery was a pleasant surprise. I’ll let him listen to my advance of Pure Trash if he lets me take my lady out in that ride of his.
Continue reading “Dosh”
Proof positive of Odd’s ability to walk the line between goofball humor and necksnapping beats.
Continue reading “Odd Nosdam”
A sampling of favorites from 2003. Confounding both the laptop and backpack sets with artful ease, not to mention a wickedly haunting groove.
Continue reading “Themselves”