Limited Edition Green Vinyl with Hand Screen Printed Jacket by Hit+Run Lost Stories is a collection of 18 beats from the archives of English producer Jim Coles, best known today as Om Unit, and released by Justin “Kutmah” McNulty’s IZWID label. The album is both a portrait of the artist as a young man, and the completion of a circle, ten years in the making, that stretches from London to Los Angeles. Before he became Om Unit, Coles was working under the name 2tall. Throughout the 2000s he lived in and around London, lodging in various smoky flats where he would set up an always shifting home studio. Days were spent studying music, meditating, and learning the ropes of electronic music production while also honing sharp turntablist skills. Between 2005 and 2008, Coles made a lot of beats, part and parcel of his artistic growth. Lost Stories collects eighteen of the best, unearthed from old hard drives and Cubase sessions and never heard until now. Influence came from American labels such as Plug Research, Ghostly International, Poobah, and Stones Throw where a new generation of artists worked in a middle ground between hiphop and electronic, a place of infinite possibilities. The album shows a maturing 2tall sound while sketching out the outlines of what would become Om Unit: you can hear it all in the swing of ‘Potholes’, the confident chug of ‘Timeless World’, the hypnotic bass of ‘The Roller’, the awkward loop of ’30 mins’, the strut of ‘Night Vision’, and the uplifting vibes of ‘Over The Clouds’. Kutmah first discovered 2tall’s music after Ras G had ordered copies of his last album into Poobah Records. Years before they ever set eyes on each other, the two were connected through a mutual appreciation of their respective work. Lost Stories came together during a joint Australian tour in spring 2014. Featuring artwork by Kutmah, it captures a moment in time when experimentation mattered above all else, when possibilities felt abundant, and when a beat could be a doorway into infinity. And it also reminds us that you must remember where you came from in order to understand where you’re going.
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Eccentric soul and funk recordings from an unlikely crew of Los Angeles musical misfits – including psych-rock cult figure John Greek (Reachin’ Arcesia, Beautiful Daze) and members of the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. They had a catchy, but inappropriate name: there is nothing forthcoming about Los Angeles’ 4th Coming, unless one counts a copious amount of releases – on rare 7” singles – that didn’t sell farther than vocalist/principal Henry “Hank” Porter’s Datsun 1200 could take him. When 4th Coming records surfaced in the '90s, they were often disregarded as novelty. And some of their records were so rare that it took until the late ‘00s for them to reemerge, after the sinking of their initial pressing runs. Assembling a complete set of 4th Coming recordings was nearly impossible, until the issue of this, the lost 4th Coming album. At its core, the 4th Coming was a songwriting duo – Porter and Jechonias “Jack” S. Williams – and a rotating cast of musicians – including members of lauded LA funk ensemble the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band - that Williams assembled at Artist Recording Studio to realize the pair’s ideas. They existed only from the latter half of 1969 until 1974; during that time they issued eight singles as 4th Coming and one as Impact! on Al Firth's Alpha imprint. And now, Strange Things, a thrilling listen, a mysterious trove of recordings made possible by an open minded and well-funded indie impresario, which document a very real and very weird Los Angeles of the past. It’s a city we’ll never know again, and one that might never again produce an ensemble like the 4th Coming. If Firth’s faith only rolled snake-eyes in terms of commercial success, in terms of documenting Los Angeles’ vibrant soul and funk underground, he rolled boxcars. This, the album Williams and Firth always hoped would bring them real success, now sees its complete release and allows us to ponder the might-have and the would-have beens – had a 4th Coming album come together in the mid-‘70s.
Released without the usual flurry of hype, Before I Self Destruct fulfills 50 Cent's contractual obligation to the Interscope label. It also doubles as a throwback album, returning the rapper to the hunger and hatred of his early mixtapes while skillfully recasting him as a wannabe upstart. That is, for the most part. The four radio-friendly bedroom numbers that conclude the album are out of place but fairly good to dime-piece beautiful, with the best being the Ne-Yo showcase "Baby by Me" ("Have a baby by me, baby/Be a millionaire"). As pleasing as these final numbers are, if you leave the room after the macho bruiser "I Got Swag" ("I'm infinitely special/Girl the Lord is gonna bless you/If you do what I tell you to do"), you'll return to a confusingly different album, one that's as glamorous but less vital. The monstrous run of tracks that leads up to this flash and polish can be summed up by 50's "This ain't Tha Carter/It's Sparta!," a witty, deceptive, and brutish line barked over a prime Dr. Dre beat during the great "Death to My Enemies." On the cut, the producer sounds like he's been digging on RZA, but the tension and dark-night feel he has created for "Psycho" is easily identifiable as Dre. Add an especially rapid 50 trading horror-show rhymes with Eminem and the G-Unit soldiers will testify that the Shady/Aftermath dream is still alive. While "So Disrespectful" is the perfect title for a song that shocks, stuns, and brings reminders of the gritty G-Unit Radio mixtape series at its best, the Rick Rock-produced "Stretch" is an even craftier balance of amoral and humorous as it references Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic before explaining the profitable benefits of cutting cocaine. There are only three guest vocalists, and save a production credit for Havoc, the G-Unit posse is absent, and yet 50 is able to carry the album alone, sounding as inspired as he did on his Interscope debut. That album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', beats this one thanks to its proper balance and structure, but Before I Self Destruct is still a fantastic juggernaut of a 50 album if you exit early, and a very good one even if you don't.
Two of Hip Hop's most cherished icons, Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder have come together to create what undoubtedly will go down as an instantly classic album. INDIE 500 features an All Star supporting cast, including Problem, Slug (of Atmosphere), Rapsody, Pharaoh Monch, Brother Ali, Hi-Tek, NIKO IS and more. After exploding on to the scene as one half of the legendary Black Star alongside Mos Def in 1998, Talib Kweli quickly followed up in 2000 with the album Train of Thought, his collaborative effort with producer Hi-Tek. As fans,critics and his peers unanimously agreed, Kweli was cemented as one of hip hop's top lyricists and continued to release one acclaimed album after another - garnering direct praise from Jay-Z on his song ""Moment of Clarity"" from Jay-Z's classic The Black Album. Meanwhile as the early 2000's progressed, a new trio was bursting on the scene from North Carolina known as Little Brother. Behind the boards of this trio was producer 9th Wonder, who very quickly established himself as one of hip hop's best producers. As their 2003 album The Listening reached a fever pitch, 9th Wonder's buzz became so hot he claimed a highly coveted production spot as well on Jay-Z's The Black Album. Through the years both Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder have gone on to work with a staggering list of hip hop royalty. However both of their respective works outside of the recording booth have become prominent pieces of their stories as well. 9th Wonder has established himself as Hip Hop's top educator, working as a professor at Harvard, Duke and North Carolina Central University, while Talib Kweli has become one of Hip Hop's most vocal and respected voices, who appears regularly on news outlets such as CNN and programs like HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. A collaboration between Kweli and 9th almost seemed to make perfect sense, but INDIE 500 represents even more to the artists. "I've always been a fan of collectives, like Native Tongues and the Dungeon Family," explains Kweli. "INDIE 500 is a tribute to the spirit of unity exemplified by some of great hip hop artists that influenced us." Collectives are nothing new to the two, who have both successfully run their own labels in Blacksmith, Javotti (Kweli) and Jamla (9th Wonder), helping to break a number of popular artists over the years.
With their fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life, A Tribe Called Quest manages to be one of the few hip-hop acts to successfully age by pushing both their music and their lyrics into new directions. Stylistically, the record is closest to its immediate predecessor, Midnight Marauders, in the sense that the group's jazz-rap fusion are downplayed and the beat stays surprisingly hard throughout the album. What distinguishes Beats, Rhymes and Life from Marauders is a deeper sense not only of eclectism, but of spirituality and maturity. Shortly before the album was written and recorded, Q-Tip converted to Islam and the religion's ideals are an undercurrent in nearly every track on the album. But what really stands out is Tip's unease with the transience of the youth-oriented hip-hop scene and his own urges to settle down. Unlike most rappers, he confronts these feelings in the music, by writing lyrics and helping to create music that illustrates the contradictions of growing old with hip-hop. And by tackling the issue head-on, A Tribe Called Quest sound fresh and suggest that it is possible to sustain a career in rap as you approach a full decade of recording, after all.
Though the abstract rappers finally betrayed a few commercial ambitions for Midnight Marauders, the happy result was a smart, hooky record that may not have furthered the jazz-rap fusions of The Low End Theory, but did merge Tribe-style intelligence and reflection with some of the most inviting grooves heard on any early-'90s rap record. The productions, more funky than jazzy, were tighter overall — but the big improvement, four years after their debut, came with Q-Tip's and Phife Dawg's raps. Focused yet funky, polished but raw, the duo was practically telepathic on "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" and "The Chase, Pt. 2," though the mammoth track here was the pop hit "Award Tour." A worldwide call-out record with a killer riff and a great pair of individual raps from the pair, it assured that Midnight Marauders would become A Tribe Called Quest's biggest seller. The album didn't feature as many topical tracks as Tribe was known for, though the group did include an excellent, sympathetic commentary on the question of that word ("Sucka Nigga," with a key phrase: "being as we use it as a term of endearment"). Most of the time, A Tribe Called Quest was indulging in impeccably produced, next-generation games of the dozens ("We Can Get Down," "Oh My God," "Lyrics to Go"), but also took the time to illustrate sensitivity and spirituality ("God Lives Through"). A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders was commercially successful, artistically adept, and lyrically inventive; the album cemented their status as alternative rap's prime sound merchants, authors of the most original style since the Bomb Squad first exploded on wax.
One year after De la Soul re-drew the map for alternative rap, fellow Native Tongues brothers A Tribe Called Quest released their debut, the quiet beginning of a revolution in non-commercial hip-hop. People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm floated a few familiar hooks, but it wasn't a sampladelic record. Rappers Q-Tip and Phife Dawg dropped a few clunky rhymes, but their lyrics were packed with ideas, while their flow and interplay were among the most original in hip-hop. From the beginning, Tribe focused on intelligent message tracks but rarely sounded over-serious about them. With "Pubic Enemy," they put a humorous spin on the touchy subject of venereal disease (including a special award for the most inventive use of the classic "scratchin'" sample), and moved right into a love rap, "Bonita Applebum," which alternated a sitar sample with the type of jazzy keys often heard on later Tribe tracks. " of a Fool" took to task those with violent tendencies, while "Youthful Expression" spoke wisely of the power yet growing responsibility of teenagers. Next to important message tracks with great productions, A Tribe Called Quest could also be deliciously playful (or frustratingly unserious, depending on your opinion). "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" describes a vacation gone hilariously wrong, while "Ham 'n' Eggs" may be the oddest topic for a rap track ever heard up to that point ("I don't eat no ham and eggs, cuz they're high in cholesterol"). Contrary to the message in the track titles, the opener "Push It Along" and "Rhythm (Dedicated to the Art of Moving Butts)" were fusions of atmospheric samples with tough beats, special attention being paid to a pair of later Tribe sample favorites, jazz guitar and '70s fusion synth. Restless and ceaselessly imaginative, Tribe perhaps experimented too much on their debut, but they succeeded at much of it, certainly enough to show much promise as a new decade dawned.
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Digitally remastered and expanded edition housed in jewel case with special silver foil cover to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of this release. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, hip hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest release the original album remastered from the original tapes by Grammy-Award winning engineer Bob Power with three exclusive new remixes by a few of today's biggest hip hop artists who have credited A Tribe Called Quest as a major creative influence. Featuring remastered versions of classic cuts like "Bonita Applebum", "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo", "Can I Kick It?" and more.
Over the course of five classic albums and numerous hit singles, A Tribe Called Quest became a cornerstone artist in hip-hop and across contemporary music in general. The gold-certified People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm and The Love Movement as well as the platinum-certified and groundbreaking albums The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders and Beats, Rhymes & Life, created a unique and long-standing legacy. The Anthology, ATCQ's sixth full-length release on Jive Records, features the best material from the group's five iconic albums. Included are such smash hits as "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo," "Can I Kick It," "Bonita Applebum," "Check The Rhime," "Scenario," "Award Tour," "Electric Relaxation" and many more. The Anthology also features the rare "When The Papes Comes" and Q-Tip's solo track "Vivrant Thing" as well as guest appearances from Busta Rhymes and Faith Evans.
Hits, Rarities & Remixes is a compilation album by A Tribe Called Quest. It features two previously unreleased songs ("Mr. Incognito" and "The Night He Got Caught") as well as remixes and some of the group's more familiar songs. It also contains songs that were featured in movie soundtracks.
A$AP Ferg's debut album features production from Chinza, Crystal Caines, Finatik, Fly Beats, Frankie P, High Class Filth, Highdefrazjah, Jim Jonsin, Napolian, P On The Boards, Rico Love, Snugsworth, Versa Beatz, Veryrvre and Zac.
2013 debut from the Harlem born and raised rapper. The album feature the buzz worthy "Goldie" and the Noah 40 Shebib produced hit, "F*#kin' Problems" featuring Hip Hop elites Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. Executive produced by A$AP Rocky and A$AP Yams, the album also features guest appearances by ScHoolboy Q, Santigold, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. A$AP Rocky takes the reins as producer and co-producer on several tracks along with Danger Mouse, Jim Jonsin, Rico Love, Clams Casino, Skrillex, Hit-Boy and others.
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We’ve all heard the phrase, “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” Well, soul musician Aaron “Ab” Abernathy can measure his senior year in high school as one of the most important years in his life. It marked the year he became a man. Using this as the inspiration for his new LP Monologue, Ab allows listeners to follow along on his journey to manhood. Monologue plays out like a novel, where the Abernathy's expand the perception of family over Ab’s expansion of the stripped down Soul/R&B music we’re used to hearing. Whether he’s playing piano, wurlitzer, synths, guitar, programming drums, live drums, or arranging strings and horn lines, Ab’s mastery of musicianship is on full display through Monologue’s array of colorful, complex compositions, coupled with his rich, layered vocals. The album opens with him honoring his parents on the whimsical, Parliament-influenced selection “Son Of Larry,” followed by the melodic up-tempo “Favorite Girl.” On both records, he praises his father and mother and touches on their influence, words of wisdom and bold love. On the groovy “Bachelorette,” where we’re introduced to Ab’s pursuit of his high school love interest, the track gets an assist from long-time collaborators and hip hop heavyweights Phonte and Black Milk. Ab displays his sultry edge on the Prince-inspired soul-pop records “I See You” and “Pretty Kind,” which showcase his raw and playful vocal lead. Doubt creeps in on the soulful mid-tempo “Play It Cool,” where he questions if he should profess his love or take the approach of the track’s title. The landmark moment in his story comes from the wisdom in his father’s advice to be vulnerable, which leads us into the brilliant composition and standout ballad “I Need To Know.” Ab delivers his monologue on the title track, where he acknowledges his mistakes and revels in his spirituality and newfound wisdom in love. Monologue is a touching and refreshing album about family, love, purpose and music. Ab has the ability to make listeners feel connected, each song taking audiophiles on a trip back to their childhood and the nostalgic feeling of young love. Whether you’re a part of the Abernathy family or not, Ab opens the door for you to come in and visit. After visiting for a little while, you too might find your Monologue.
A suite of electronic laments, tone structures and dreamtime rhythms, with a conceptual arc taking in death, life, sleep and religion. Right from Hazyville, Actress’s music has been deeply marked by London’s rave music heritage. But after the angular dynamics of Splazsh, R.I.P heads out into deep space. The rhythms and pulses are smudged or blurred, or are hinted at by their absence. 2-step garage is collided into gamelan, and freeform interludes explore microtonal spaces and imagined string instruments. R.I.P underlines Actress’s reputation as one of the most eloquent voices to emerge from the sub-bass nexus of London dance music. His intuitive and original grasp of beats, textures and rhythm puts him on a parallel path to dance music innovators such as Basic Channel, Burial and Aphex Twin. But the way he engages with electronic sound from first principles, realising his own self-contained sonic worlds, hints at less obvious kinships outside the dance music fraternity, with pioneers of homebrewed sound experiments such as Cabaret Voltaire, Pan Sonic and Oval. It moves the body but the sounds also tap into to something more intangible inside you; you dance, but also ‘slip/drift into another realm, probably without even realising.’
This is the eagerly‐awaited second album by Werk Discs founder and controller Darren Cunningham. Splazsh is an adventurous, ultra-modern, thoroughly British affair, rummaging about in the inner lives of house and techno, and brilliantly elaborating the accomplishments of his debut, Hazyville. Determinedly off‐the‐map and resistant to pigeonholing, Cunningham is an enigmatic and playful figure, citing Francis Bacon and Monet as inspirations alongside Theo Parrish, Anthony "Shake" Shakir, Daft Punk, "binary codes and numeral systems," and The Avengers. He's a hard man to pin down -- somehow a key player in the post‐dubstep diaspora and yet not there at all -- but everything comes across in his shape‐shifting, richly-textured music. The South Londoner's acclaimed debut lived up to its name: a series of dream-like sketches and ideas. For Splazsh, the fog has lifted, the sounds are less submerged than before, but still sticky and close -- a signature combination of exuberance and introversion, luminescence and puzzlement. Unconstrained by the formal clichés of the dance music he loves, Actress' melodies and arrangements are enthralled by their own genies. Worlds of disturbance and melancholy revolve giddyingly inside the insidious funk of tracks like "Get Ohn" and "Lost." A range of musical influences is redrawn, from speed-garage to grime, with none crowned king. There is a reflectiveness -- the ambient drift of "Futureproofing," the radiophonic judder of "Supreme Cunnilingus" -- in amongst the industrial, synth‐wave flavors of "Casanova," and the stirring, stately "Maze." Actress has quickly and justly become one of the most respected names in the UK's new dance music underground. His own label, Werk Discs, has proven itself one of the most formidable and taste‐making UK independents of recent times, bringing the world extraordinary albums from Zomby, Lukid, Lone and Actress himself. In love with the mysteries of groove and repetition, Splazsh is both a culmination and a new beginning for Actress -- a substantial and eccentric work from a brave and coolly individual artist.
Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie, the creative force behind A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Stars Of The Lid, presents his score for the motion picture Salero on vinyl courtesy of Erased Tapes. With Salero Wiltzie weaves some of his finest work to date and delivers an expertly distilled accompaniment to director Mike Plunkett's sprawling, uncompromising visuals. Set in Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, the narrative follows the region's Saleros – those who have for generations gathered salt and earned enough to somehow carve out an existence in such a barren landscape. It's with the discovery of huge Lithium reserves – a mineral used frequently throughout the tech industry – under the scorched earth that acts as a catalyst for exploitation of the environment and its people; holding a microscope to the drastic effect industrialization has on local culture and tradition. "I have always said that composing music is infinitely easier when you have beautiful images to be inspired by," Wiltzie explains. "It was a pleasure to write a score over this captivating place of endless, glimmering salt before its impending demise. I was fascinated by this mythical space and its ability to define the identities of the people who live in its vicinity, where this vast salt flat itself would be a central character."
Soulful, stylish, stunning, and absolutely transfixing: 21 is the highly anticipated sophomore release from British singer/songwriter Adele. The album follows up her critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning debut 19. Is there a better up-and-coming female vocalist in music? Doubtfully. Recorded in Malibu and London, 21 offered Adele the opportunity to work with such luminary producers and songwriters as Paul Epworth, Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson and Fraser T. Smith, as well as continuing to work with Francis "Eg" White and Jim Abbiss. The new collection of songs showcases the growth of this incredible artist who, at the very young age of 22, exhibits the poise of a seasoned veteran. Inspired by an introduction into roots and country music, Adele's music takes some new direction while staying true to her signature style. "I discovered lots of artists I'd never heard of, particularly Wanda Jackson, Allison Krauss, Yvonne Fair, Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Lady Antebellum and Steel Drivers who I fell in love with," she explains. "Then I delved in to more from artists I've loved forever - Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Elbow, Mos Def, Alanis Morissette, Tom Waits and Sinead O'Connor. There's something in every single one of these artists that have really really inspired 21." In early 2008, as her debut was reaching Double Platinum status in her native UK, Adele took North America by storm delivering groundbreaking performances on everything from Saturday Night Live to the Grammy Awards, where her four nominations yielded two impressive wins. Entertainment Weekly described Adele's voice as "astonishing" and People called it "a knockout that's rich and supple," but The LA Times put it best when it proclaimed "Adele exudes stylish confidence."
Adele is set to release "25," her highly anticipated new album, which will be available globally on Friday November 20th and is the first new music from her since her Oscar winning single 'Skyfall' in 2012. "Hello" is the debut single from ''25." The cinematic video for ''Hello'' was shot in the countryside surrounding Montreal and is directed by the celebrated young Canadian director Xavier Dolan (Mommy, Tom at the Farm). "My last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make up record. I'm making up with myself. making up for lost time. making up for everything I ever did and never did." - Adele
The first official release from multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer Adrian Younge, Black Dynamite (Original Motion Picture Score) was the meticulously crafted sonic accompaniment to the 2009 Michael Jai White comedy. The title is now being reissued as a limited edition picture disc on Younge’s own Linear Labs imprint. Inspired by the great blaxploitation soundtracks of the 1970s, Younge commands the Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet, harpsichord, synthesizer, vibraphone, guitar, bass, flute, sax, cello, and drums to craft a singular vision of the era. Since its release, the film has grown into a formidable franchise including a comic book and animated television series on Cartoon Network. Now five years later, the score is being reissued with the full set of instrumentals and four additional tracks including a rare version of “Jimmy’s Dead” by Tommy Davidson. A certifiable cult classic, the film centers around ex-CIA agent Black Dynamite’s fight to avenge his brother’s murder while cleaning up the streets of the deadly Anaconda malt liquor. Having been involved with the film from its inception, Younge’s score is intimately woven into the film’s narrative. As editor, Younge worked closely with director Scott Sanders to ensure the authenticity of the film’s pace and musical accompaniment. The final result is a clever homage that sounds more like an unearthed gem from the ‘70s—complete with MPC-ready Wu-Tang samples—rather than a modern creation. This authentic sound is one that Younge has been cultivating for years. His ability to replicate the nuanced stylistic effects of a bygone era are the result of utilizing exclusively vintage analog recording equipment and techniques, and long hours studying the sounds of heroes like Ennio Morricone and Curtis Mayfield. Laboring away in his Los Angeles based Linear Labs studio, Younge played every instrument on the record, teaching himself anything he didn’t already know. Through a dogged work ethic and determination, Younge has painstakingly constructed a modern vintage sound that harkens to the past with its sights on the future. Black Dynamite is a must-have for any fan of the blaxploitation era and dark soul music, a modern-day classic whose legendary status will only grow stronger over time.
In the years since the release of Adrian Younge’s Something About April, he has been coined America’s black genius: the evocation of analog vestige in a digital era. His majestic music has garnered him reverence, likened to Ennio Morricone’s best work and the Beatles’ tenacity to create new sounds. Fortuitously, Something About April has made an indelible impression on modern vinyl heads and producers alike, being sampled by DJ Premier, Jay-Z, Common, 50 Cent and more. The Something About April brand is an axiom to the modern “Breakbeat” and Linear Labs is happy to announce its successor: Something About April II. As with Something About April – Something About April II is the sort of recording that is more than deserving of an all instrumental treatment. Recorded with Younge’s collection of rare instruments, Something About April II advances his musical paradigm with enterprising concepts and grander compositions — it synthesizes the boundaries between dark American soul and classic European cinema. Younge is the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard, looking at the past to create the future. What this album extrapolates, from vinyl culture, will become further magnified by its sampling down the line. Something About April II will replace the former as a holy grail for producers and collectors alike.
In the four years, since the release of Adrian Younge's Something About April, he has been coined America's black genius: the evocation of analog vestige in a digital era. His majestic music has garnered him reverence, likened to Ennio Morricone's best work and the Beatles' tenacity to create new sounds. Fortuitously, Something About April has made an indelible impression on modern vinyl heads and producers alike, being sampled by DJ Premier, Jay-Z, Common, 50 Cent and more. The Something About April brand is an axiom to the modern "Breakbeat" and Linear Labs is happy to announce its successor: Something About April II. Recorded with Younge's collection of rare instruments, Something About April II advances his musical paradigm with enterprising concepts and grander compositions - it synthesizes the boundaries between dark American soul and classic European cinema. With effervescent conviction,Younge executes with an array of entrancing vocalists: Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab) and Bilal perform duets on "Step Beyond" and "La Ballade," reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin; Raphael Saadiq blends "Black Jazz" vocals with psychedelic soul on "Magic Music;" Israeli star, Karolina, delivers haunting chants over concertos like "Hear my Love" and "Winter is Here;" Loren Oden croons as if the apparent ghost of Donnie Hathaway created one last love song, "Sandrine." Younge is the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard, looking at the past to create the future. What this album extrapolates, from vinyl culture, will become further magnified by its sampling down the line. Something About April II will replace the former as a holy grail for producers and collectors alike.
This, too, is a story about control. It’s a manual, maybe half Rosetta Stone, half bird guide. It was made the way they made electronic music in the good old days, all analog everything, right after synthesizers shrunk to a manageable size and you didn’t have to trek down to a university to use one anymore. Hard-earned. Tastes different. Our parents’ electronic. And its subject is staying together, that thing we thought was their province. It’s about trying to fix what hurts. It’s about knowing better. Black Noise is men talking to men about women; Lemonade is a woman talking to women about men, and they both orbit around a failure we take for granted like the sun: loving you is complicated. It’s a skill; we forgot. Adrian Younge calls The Electronique Void an academic album, by which he means it is both instructional and informational. There’s a problem at the heart of it, a woman who’s been told that she’s loved, but she doesn’t recognize that, can’t feel it, may have heard it all before, may be worrying about the wrong things. Jack Waterson, long a guitarist in Younge’s band, plays the role of narrator, sounding professorial and rather superior as he lays out for the woman where she’s erred. That vocoder you hear is Adrian, talking to her on a subterranean level, the way an artist must. There’s a strong sense of rules here, a prescription and a presumption that there is an agreed upon way to do it, and there is also a wrong way, or at least a way that won’t work. And the fact is, as didactic as that sounds, it might be the truth. Maybe everybody who’s alone can be cured. The discourse on the album is the kind of thing that happens when you go blonde and then you can’t keep ‘em off you. These truths are cold and hard, and our hero begrudges the well-meaning advice being rained down upon her as any independent woman would. The science of love, its formulas and if-then constraints, causal relationships and observable properties, is best taught experientially, but learning it hurts so, so bad. Music, especially electronic music, reliant as it is on abstraction and unrepentant as it is about hijacking your physiological responses to tempo and rhythm and dynamics, is a way to get there without going through it. Electronic music as practiced and developed by pioneers like Dick Hyman and Raymond Scott and Wendy Carlos is precise and intentional. In making his first electronic album, Younge took his cues from them, reminding a contemporary audience what a synthesizer, deep in its heart, really could be. The lady of The Electronique Void, only ever seen through a man’s eyes, who’s being told what to do by him, sounds trapped by her history and by her position, her ancestors’ trauma echoing through her lineage and booming out of her as a phobia, distrust, misapprehension, rational response to a fucked up situation. Waterson’s text here seems to say that if his character could go back in time, catch her before the damage was done, she would be able to love. And that’s reasonable. Don’t get hooked. Don’t do wifey shit for a fuck boy. Don’t let it go to your head, no. It’s also possible he has no idea what he’s talking about. The lessons for men in The Electronique Void are unspoken but plain as day. This music is an urgent tutorial. Adrian Younge looks at us and sees the frontline of a crisis, something we only have time to triage right now. This isn’t romantic and it isn’t about settling down. This is the fight of our lives: how to love.
2LP Green/Pink Neon Colored Vinyl, Custom Die Cut Jacket, 3’x4’ Double Sided Poster, Two Illustrated Record Sleeves, Album Lyrics & Digital Download Card. Indie-rap mainstay Aesop Rock has announced his new album, The Impossible Kid, dropping April 29th on Rhymesayers Entertainment, marking his first solo venture since 2012’s Skelethon. On the new album, Aesop continues finding new ways to improve on the skills that have made him one of the kings of indie hip-hop. His creative process now includes a newfound willingness to open up about his personal life, going deep on topics like depression, his sometimes rocky relationship with his family, and the turbulent handful of years that culminated in Aesop leaving his adopted home of San Francisco to live in a barn out in the woods, where he recorded the foundations of The Impossible Kid. There’s also moments of levity though, as Aesop taps into the funny side of his persona that he suppressed during the period where being taken as a serious lyricist was more of a priority. Like Skelethon, Aesop exercised complete creative control over every aspect of the album, from the production (which he handled himself, with instrumental help from Philly’s Grimace Federation) to conceptualizing the cover art by his friend Alex Pardee. Though it’s been four years since his last solo album, Aesop has maintained an impressive creative streak, releasing collaborative albums with Kimya Dawson (The Uncluded’s Hokey Fright in 2013), with Rob Sonic (Hail Mary Mallon’s Bestiary in 2014), and with Homeboy Sandman (LICE’s self-titled EP in 2015). He’s also been actively crafting beats. Recent projects include producing the 32+ minute instrumental mix, The Blob, working together with Nike to provide the music for a series of their skateboarding videos, and producing the soundtrack for the upcoming film Bushwick, starring Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow. He’s also started skateboarding and drawing again, which were his big passions before his hobby of making rap songs turned into a paying gig that evolved into an accidental 20-year long career, taking him from making beats in his bedroom to playing for crowds thousands deep. Going back to his roots has proven useful in processing everything that’s happened in his life over the past couple decades, and maybe to figure out the person he’s become: The Impossible Kid, a person who’s spent his life doing things that seemed unthinkable before he just went and did them, blazing a visionary trail all his own. Two decades in, he’s still out there pushing it forward.
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Originally released in 1986 this is actually a collection of 12” singles and songs dating back as far as 1982, the year that the absolute, stone classic, “Planet Rock” 12” was released. One of the most important singles in the history of hip-hop, it incorporates elements of Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” and is the first documented use of an 808 drum machine in hip-hop/R&B. The rest of the record is no slouch either, including the classic single “Searching For The Perfect Beat” and collaborations with Melle Mel and D.C.’s Trouble Funk.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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