One of my new favorite things to look forward to each new year is the new We Are World Around compilation. Not only does it serve as a good entry point into the label’s roster, but it gives you a great eclectic collection of instrumental and vocal tracks exclusive to the album.
It was not that long ago that Japanese producer Repeat Pattern came on our radar here at SV, when he released an excellent EP called Badminton Club in December of 2012 with American emcee Broke. A little over a month later, and we’ve got two new instrumental albums from him, released simultaneously. On Badminton Club, Repeat Pattern was channeling a lot of East Coast hip hop from the early ‘90s. On circle vs. square, we get much more modern, with a sound somewhere between lo-bit electronic/hip hop and skweee.
After releasing the EP Badminton Club with emcee Broke in December of last year, Japanese producer Repeat Pattern is right back at it with a pair of simultaneously released instrumental albums. While circle vs. square is the more modern video-game-soundtrack-meets-skweee album, TRACES is the more traditional, soul-and-jazz-sampling down tempo album you might expect when you think of instrumental hip hop.
Dan the Automator has had one of the most unique and eclectic careers of the past twenty years of music. As a producer, he’s worked on a plethora of different projects like Deltron 3030, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Lovage, Head Automatica, a few different Kool Keith personas, and of course, the first Gorillaz album. With that it mind, a project like Pillowfight, his collaboration with violionist/vocalist Emily Wells, isn’t that weird. It’s really just another notch in the belt of an individual who's made their mark blurring the lines between genres.
Religion and hip hop are vast and rich subject matters to explore, and the intersection of the two areas can be absolutely fascinating. However, when your book is simply titled Religion and Hip Hop, where do you even begin? Other books have tried to focus on particular factions, such as the Five Percenters, or Christianity, and the ways in which they have interacted with hip hop culture. Monica R. Miller, though, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Lewis & Clark College, has written book that at least in title tries to tie everything together.
There are few things I've loved about all the opportunities Scratched Vinyl has afforded me than watching the career of Milo take off. When he dropped his debut mix tape in the fall of 2011, it was clear that not only did this kid have talent, but he had a unique voice. Since that time, he’s refined his skills and become a stronger and performer, without losing any of his unique delivery and point of view that initially drew me in.
AstroLogical is a Montreal-based producer, who has established himself as a prolific musician in a relatively short amount of time. Truthseeker marks his seventh release since 2010, all put out by the Vancouver label Jellyfish Recordings.
I was first turned on to the work of producer Yuri Beats last year, through his excellent work with YC the Cynic and PremRock. Everything I had heard was very funky, inventive, interesting, and entertaining. However, none of them prepared me for the shift in styles that occurred with his new solo album. Future Movements for Earth People is a gorgeous, sample-free, instrumental album, and one of the best surprises of the year so far.
Last summer, Dark Time Sunshine, the duo of emcee Onry Ozzborn and producer Zavala, released the excellent album, ANX. With the album and subsequent tour with Aesop Rock, it seems as though they finally had their breakthrough moment. While Ozzborn has been known for a while know, both as a solo artist and as part of groups like Oldominion and Grayskul before starting DTS, Zavala has remained fairly under the radar as a producer. If there's any justice, enough people will listen to this instrumental version of ANX and realize just what a special talent he is.
Common Labor is the Minneapolis duo of emcee Analyrical and emcee/producer Phingaz. The two of them have come together to create a unique sound that brings in elements of rock, blues, folk, and hip hop. Now a description like that could easily refer to a group that sounds like a hot mess, super corny, or both. The good news here is that Common Labor manage to avoid all the worst trappings of crossing over between these genres. Instead, they have made an engaging and interesting album with a style that's all their own.