Soundsci is something of a hip hop supergroup, originally founded by Audessy of Mass Influence and Jonny Cuba of DSP. The crew has expanded since its original inception to also include DJ Ollie Teeba of Herbaliser, along with emcees Oxygen of Sputnik Brown and U-George. They also include engineer NoSleep Nigel and design artist Mr Krum as part of the group. The mission statement of the group is to remind you of why you fell in love with hip hop in the first place, which means lots of big and funky boom bap. Their latest album is no exception.
Way back in the day, Greenhouse Effect was a three-person crew from Columbus, Ohio featuring Blueprint, Inkwell, and Fess. Personal differences and growth in solo careers led to the crew going their own separate ways. Around the same time, Blueprint had also produced the first three albums for fellow Columbus artist Illogic.
If I have any regret from SXSW this past year, it’s that I didn’t get to see Mad Dukez and Fresh Kils perform together. I missed it, only to have everyone I ran into tell me how good their set was, and how impressed they were with Mad Dukez. Fresh Kils I’ve known about for a few years, and I believe him to be one of the most talented and underrated producers working today. Mad Dukez, though, was new to me, as I’m sure he will be to a lot of people outside of Buffalo, but it’s easy to see why everyone I talked to was so impressed with him.
On & Offspring marks the first collaboration between Acid Reign emcee Gajah and Brighton producer Mute Speaker. This might come as a bit of a surprise to listeners, because the chemistry between the two is so fantastic, you’d think they would have been working together for years.
Hermitofthewoods is a hip hop/spoken word artist based in Halifax. He released his debut solo album in 2007, and has been gradually building an odd and interesting catalogue since that time. Land of the Lotus Eaters is an album that’s been a couple years in the making, done in collaboration with producer Scott Da Ros, and is his most ambitious to date.
The time between first and second albums is a curious thing, especially when the first album is such a big deal, as was the case with Dessa’s A Badly Broken Code. The album came together in a way that caught a lot of people’s attention, including us here at Scratched Vinyl, where we named it the best album of 2010. Since that time, the Doomtree member put together her own live band, and released Castor, The Twin, which featured the band’s interpretations of many of the songs on Code.
While we’ve gotten a couple of EPs in the past couple of years, it’s actually been a while since we got a full length album from Sweatshop Union. Has it really been five years since Water Street? I suppose it has. The Vancouver group has still been active, though, releasing said EPs and exploring side projects like Pigeon Hole and Dirty Circus. That said, it’s nice to get album number four.
Ta-ku is a producer’s producer. Talk to any other producer today about who he’s listening to or who they respect, and you’re bound to hear them mention the Perth-based artist. If you’ve already spent time with Ta-ku’s extensive catalogue, you know how versatile and sophisticated his beats are. If he’s new to your ears, Dowhatyoulove is a perfect introduction.
Julien Mier is a young producer from The Netherlands, classically trained before he began his foray into electronic music. This marks his first release on Lowriders Recordings, a great collective in The Netherlands committed to releasing progressive electronic music.
Miki Vale is going to be a new artist to a lot of potential listeners, but for those in the San Diego area, I’m going to imagine that there are more than a few of you that have known she was special for years. Well, for whatever myriad of reasons, we haven’t gotten a solo debut from here until now. The good news, though, is that this hip hop/soul artist will definitely catch your ear with this EP.