Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian
In the post-J Dilla world of instrumental hip-hop, there are far too many overly-inspired young producers, all aiming to imitate the late Detroit genius beatmaker. Prefuse 73, while taking cues from the Detroit sound, was always in his own sonic world – bridging the gap between IDM, hip-hop, glitch and experimental beat-making. Living up to the calibre of talent from his label-mates on Warp, he knocks this one out of the park. Ampexian, right down to the Roger Dean style cover art, is quite brilliant. At 29 songs deep, most averaging a minute-and-a-half in length, there are many standouts like “Regato,” with its sampled Spanish guitars and reverb-drapped vocals, the psychedilic “Fountains Of Spring,” and glitch-meets-1995 New York hip-hop on “Yuletide.” This record leaves a druggy, melancholic, dark and exciting haze behind when the wax stops spinning. Highly recommended.
The third album from shoe-gazing dream pop duo Asobi Seksu, Hush is pretty, dainty, and sweet. The New-York based duo of Yuki Chikudate (vocals, keyboards) and James Hanna (guitar), released their self-titled debut in 2004, and followed it up with Citrus in 2006. Pegged as a mix of the Cocteau Twins, Arcade Fire, and Blonde Redhead, the 12 songs on Hush are blissful, ethereal, and fuzzy. The album is hook-filled shoe-gaze at its finest, permeated with Japanese pop influences on tracks like “Me & Mary” and “Glacially.” Vocalist Chikudate’s doll-like voice conjures up Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki and adds a chime-like, crystalline quality to the record. A bit art-punk, and a bit dream pop, the songs are whimsical and upbeat, with dainty vocals and tinkling chimes soaring us into otherworldly realms.
(Ed Banger; 2009)
On Lamb’s Anger the beats range from chopped disco bits to a darker derivative of Daft Punk, distilled through the raucous of Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad productions circa 1991.
As a shameless pop-ploy Oizo samples Rob Base & EZ Rock’s classic “It Takes Two,” appropriating everything down to the name: “Two Takes It.” The song features rapper Carmen Castro, who raps: “I wanna come right now, in your face, let me show you how,” which is one of a few wtf moments on the record. “Positf” sounds like a track off of Daft Punk’s 1996 classic Homework, while the disco and French touch of “Erreur Jean” and “Jo” are the album’s highlights.
The Ed Banger roster is pretty much synonymous with hipster fodder, but Lamb’s Anger has a weird charm worth investigating.