Record Label: Fat Beats Records
After waiting patiently behind two singles, a dope video, and a neon-blue triangle shaped vinyl, Union is ready to unleash the most musically challenging, painstakingly crafted, MC-packed album in the dawn of 2012 - Analogtronics. Featuring Talib Kweli, Elzhi, MF DOOM, Roc Marciano, Guilty Simpson, and more, Union produces space-aged bangers that mold perfectly around each guest, in addition to sprinkling in a few lush, eye-widening instrumentals. This is the full length we have all been waiting for, as bonus tracks provide over twenty songs hypnotic interstellar boop-bap.
Union consists of two Parisian producers whose otherworldly approach to analog-driven, melodically abstract, sample free hip-hop inspired Fat Beats Records to extend a label invitation immediately. When a mysterious, monolithic, glossy black package arrived at FBHQ with nothing more than a cryptic note and an unlabeled CD inside, the staff wasn’t sure if Stanley Kubrick had risen from the dead to make mixtapes or if their lives were about to be transformed forever. Luckily it was the latter, and today the legendary label is poised to unleash Union’s debut album Analogtronics on an unsuspecting Earth in the dawn of 2012.
Union was born when OJ, a Dilla-obsessed beat junkie with an unhealthy obsession for science fiction, met Gold, a jazzhead whose vast collection of vintage keyboards and synths left little room in his flat for trifling vanities like clothing and kitchen appliances. Though both shared a parallel vision for the music of tomorrow, they each occupied opposite corners of Paris’ electro underground when their worlds collided in 2009. OJ, upon catching a flash of Gold’s keyboard prowess at a Belleville loft party, approached the funky technician immediately in hopes of applying his melodic touch to a nearly finished beat tape. Gold loved what he heard, and thus two unique creative energies become one distinct Union.
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is, simply put, one of the most perfect albums in the history of recorded music regardless of genre. From the lyrical flow of Slimkid3, Bootie Brown, Imani and Fatlip to the cover art by Fuct the project is the embodiment of excellence start to finish. Musically, the foundation of this perfection is the production work of J-Swift. His use of jazz samples, phat beats and live instrumentation had the ultimate effect of “creating their own sonic utopia”, as NME put it. As such it’s more than fitting that Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde be released as an all instrumental outing. Swift’s adventurous use of samples from jazz, R&B, funk, classic rock and more melded with his personal additions of live instrumentation including piano, bass, and Fender Rhodes along with drum arrangements from fellow producer JMD create a lush, jazzy soundscape that works well as a stand alone recording. Though the west coast’s predominant G-Funk sound of the time or the east coast’s conscious kings De La Soul may have sold more records at the time, The Pharcyde and J-Swift’s work on Bizarre Ride has stood the text of time and continues to resonate with fans new and old in a way that few records have or ever will.
Returning after their Last Transmission collaborative album with Melvin Van Peebles, the Heliocentrics finish off their trawl through the vaults of tracks recorded at their old digs – Quatermass Studios – with psychedelic tinged funk and jazz instrumentals Rolling Stone describes as “…sprawling, with percussive patterns that suddenly morph into extraterrestrial sound blasts and opaque, detouring patterns.”
De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest may have been more commercially successful, but the afrocentric, jazz political rap movement and unfadeable Native Tongue Massive started with the Jungle Brothers. Their debut full length “Straight Out the Jungle” opened up many doors that are walked through by today’s artists like Mos Def, Common and even Kanye West. Their taste for jazzy horn samples helped kick-start the entire jazz-rap movement, and their James Brown fixation was one of the first. Plus, the group’s groundbreaking collaboration with legendary house producer Todd Terry, “I’ll House You,” paved the way for numerous hip-house hybrids that shot up the dance and pop charts over the next few years and appeared to be a staple on every East Coast Rap Album from ‘88 until ‘92. The opening track “Straight Out the Jungle” samples the classic Bill Withers drum break as the JB’s tell you where they are coming from. “Black Is Black” (featuring a young Q-Tip) and “Sounds Of The Safari” introduces the pro-black edge, while the sexually subtle classics “Jimbrowski” and “I’m Gonna Do You” are funny, clever and timely. Hard, smart, fun, clever and brilliant, Mike G., Africa Baby Bam and Sammy G may not have realized it but they crafted a classic rap album that stands the test of time. Available here on high grade, loud pressed, double vinyl for the first time ever!