Sunday, June 6, 2010

Awaken


From 2001, this largely-instrumental record, produced by a Poet Named Life, was originally a DVD presented in 5.1 surround. I believe a video DVD came out as well. However, for all of you who do most of your listening through headphones (like me), this is the 2-channel cd version.

On it are tracks from Divine Styler with Styles of Beyond, Josh One, Relm, Omid, Nobody (under the alias Nowhereman), among others. This compilation provides plenty of groovy, mellow moments, while staying edgy enough to remain interesting. Especially dope tracks include Xilent Xage's "Observation Link 213," a driving, synth number evoking the glory days of electronica; Josh One's abstract downbeat "Contemplation" (a la Thievery Corp); DJ Motive8's Euro-dub/oldschool dnb- inflected "Energy"; and the album closer "Antarctica" by Mount Cyanide, a desolate, 10-minute, minor-key epic.
Although instrumental records aren't for every mood and taste, this album has proven itself with me time and again as an engaging listen. Originally I picked it up for the contributions by Omid and Nobody, but in time the record's artists have all shown themselves to be dope songwriters, making the the album entertaining from beginning to end. And the songs, although by a multitude of artists, are thematically and musically aligned, and the progression from one track to the next shows obvious attention to ebb and flow. As experimental hip hop goes, this is some of the best. Give a listen with active ears - although it's a mellow record, this isn't for the background.

Awaken

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