Thursday, June 30, 2011

Forward Motion


B-Self and Dutch Wordsworth

B-Self was a lyrical giant back in the day when Ghetto Chilldren was active, but after watching this I can safely say that he's just gotten better with time. Here's a video he produced last year or so with fellow Tribal man Dutch Wordsworth, produced by Topspin. It's on point material.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Request... New Cephalic Music


Zomb The Bass

As requested here is Andre's full-lenth from 2000. Loops and beats are his forte here, although in a usually engaging and spaced-out fashion. I get the feeling these constructions aren't designed to be freestyled over, but rather to be meditated to. Skipping around the sonic landscape between world music, classic Mo'Wax, and dub, A.A.A. stretches out and experiments, letting the music take him where it may. Songs break down to ambient, heavily echoed loops; or become stripped of everything but the drum track, only to suddenly become full-fledged again. There is nothing here quite as complex or atmospheric as his perfect Asmarbeatsvol.1 EP, but nonetheless this is some great instrumental beat music. There are several standout tracks in my opinion, but the top has to be "The Force" (co-produced by Shea Johnson), a chilling, minimal work that utilizes a droning vocal tone propelled by a couple seriously groovy drum tracks. Great stuff, as you might expect from this particular beatmaker.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New Vesuveo


Shine Like It Does

After more than 10 years, Vesuvio is back at it! For those that were there, his old group The Anonymous was heat. Consisting of Vesuvio, Dj Drez, Zinndeadly, and Able, they put out a number of slept-on releases before their EP Green and Gold garnered them some attention. They split up some time after that, and while Drez stayed in the underground spotlight, the rest of the team relatively faded from view.
So I was excited to learn just the other day that Vesuvio has a new record out, called Shine. Listening to it, you definitely hear echoes of The Anonymous; their penchant for dramatic, full scores, impassioned deliveries, and ample use of the turntables, are all present here. Vesuvio himself hasn't lost his lyrical touch, and while he might sound a bit overly-ernest here (he tends to tackle social issue after social issue), it's still fresh to hear his familiar voice after so long. Production-wise, Spanish guitar dominates, the beats hit, and that Anonymous-style orchestral sound is thankfully present. Among others, his old partner Zinndeadly shows up on beats, along with Vesuvio himself. So go show this veteran some love and check out his work!

Get a free DL here

Pick up the 11-track Album here

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Request...Mic Check Remixes


Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before...

As requested, here are the remixes for AceWon's "Mic Check" from 1995. You have the Calistolics Mix (with the CVE intro and the acapella outro - same version as featured in the video), the Kemo Remix (that showed up on All Balls Revisited), The Lakeside Remix, the Doc Love Remix, and instrumentals for all of the above. And that's that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spittin Lingo


Midevil Who?

Spittin Lingo is a comp of mostly-bay area gangsta from 1995. A lot of it is honestly pretty forgettable. Back then the industry was over-saturated with such acts; you really couldn't get away from it. The original visionaries had already established the artform years before, and their success had opened up the gates for wave after wave of imitators to keep coming out of the woodwork, until I never wanted to hear another whiney synth or fretless 5-string bass for as long as I lived. This collection is unfortunately derivative, for the most part. There are a few surprises, however: There's the high-energy Frankie Cutlass track "Puerto Rico"; and the D.OG'Z track "Back To Yesterday" is compelling with their trade-off rhyming. Then there's the song "30 Feet Unda" at the end of the record. A scratchy, stumbling, drunkenly slow loop carries the song along for the three abstract, underground emcees known as the Midevil Hermits to wax poetic over. Compared to the rest of the album, the inclusion of this track left me scratching my head. Lyrics and styles are the focus on this track, in a very ungansterish vibe. Think backpacks. All three emcees are engaging, and honestly more creative lyrically than anyone else featured so far. The dude that takes the third verse is especially memorable. I think his name is Awol or Walrus or something. I wonder what he's up to these days?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Faceitudelines


Angular, Rectangular, Perpendicular, Particular

Mumbles creeps me out. His beats just have a sense of urgency and anxiety. I think the lead song off this 12" demonstrates that quintessentially. That sinister, repetitive loop with the hissing cymbals, and the crowded, downward melodic progression, like the player is running out of time. "The Guidelines 94" doesn't give much respite from this vibe: the truncated bass line without resolution creates again a sense of loping, ominous urgency. As a producer, Mumbles was the perfect choice to compliment Acey at this time, as the emcee was growing out of the loose-tongued freestyler he was known for to become a mature poet and social commentator. His second solo record, completely produced by Mumbles, showed a more experimental, angrier, more articulate and soberer side of the artist only hinted at previously. Ultimately this was only a phase for Acey, but it was truly a memorable one.
The non-album track "Fortitude" is produced by Punish, and presents a much different vibe from the first two tracks. It's peaceful and quiet - it doesn't concern itself with exposing the dark underbelly of existence like "Faces" does - and it's a great end to this 12", as it gives the listener a welcome resolution to all of Mumble's nervousness and doom. This 12" is actually quite self-contained and complete on its own - it's good listening when you want to feel a little creeping dread.

Losdangerous


Way Up To The Last Days, They'll Still Be Rappin

Something must have clicked when Mikah 9, Stract Rude, and Acey De Uno joined forces on All Balls' sick track "Knownots". It has to be my favorite track on a record full of favorite tracks, and this official debut by the trio now known as Haiku D'Etat did not disappoint in the least. It's evident they put their all into this record; and the same can be said for their debut album as well. This EP from '97 just whetted my appetite for that full length - I remember sitting at home on dial-up waiting for the lousy-ass quality mp3 song snippets to load enough to stream, and then listening to them again and again. It was a great, great feeling when I finally got my hands on a physical copy of this.
"Los Dangerous" is presented here in its vocal and groovy instrumental forms, "Still Rappin" is given a spot, and the exclusive extended version of "Kaya" (featuring P.E.A.C.E.) is present as well. It's definitely a high-water mark in the LA underground, and pointed the way towards future greatness.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A-Team on Wax: 2XLP


Trust Me, It's Just Better This Way

Here's the vinyl version of this classic album by Face One and A. Baracus Foo'. A few notable differences between the double vinyl and the cd release: All the tracks from the cd are presented here in their clean versions (for those with sensitive ears); "Feet Upon Da Table" from the "Mic Check" 12" is included as a bonus track, and the og version of "Gonna Wanna Spin It" is included as an unlisted track. I have no idea why those two tracks were left off of the cd, since they're both f___ing ill. See? clean versions here, folks.

Rally Round The Home Team


Champion Sound

Here is the 12" off of Acey the Faceman and A.B. Baracus' debut album from 2000. Side A presents the clean, instrumental and acapella tracks, while side B has the clean, instrumental and album cuts. No remixes or exclusive songs unfortunately, but with production by DJ D and Fat Jack behind these two cats, it's a great release just as it is.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Request... A.A.A.


Sucks To Your Asmar

In answer to a request, I tracked down this early EP by the far-out beatman and sometimes-producer for Circus and the Shape Shifters. The three instrumental songs presented here are wildly creative, moody, and infectious. I listened to them over and over and over again last night. Slow, nocturnal beats, vintage vocal snippets, eerie effects, something that sounds like an autoharp - it all coalesces to form a distinct, mature voice apart from the legions of faceless, cookie cutter ProTool robots out there. For comparison's sake, his vibe sometimes reflects that of Nobody, Dynomite D, Grantby, or Frane - good company as far as I'm concerned.
To whomever requested this, thank you for pointing me in this direction! I may have a new name to add to my list of favorite producers...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Request... Mic/Headaches/Feet


Better Than A Loaf Of Bread And Some Chicken Backs

Request... Here's the superior version of the "Mic Check" 12" from 1995. Nine tracks in length, this has the clean, street, edited, instrumental and acapella versions of the title cut; LP, CVE remix and instrumental versions of "Headaches & Woes"; and the ill posse cut "Feet Upon Da Table" (w/ Abby Rizzle, CVE, Mark Da Murderah, Vic Hop and Ellay Khule). Whew! Top quality stuff right here. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Colour


Innaspace Is Good!

2003: Finally the rappers are taking acid. Seriously, a more varied and and free-spirited album in hip hop would be hard to find. I hesitate to use the words "experimental" and "psychedelic", but they approximate the style of this record. There are 2-dimensional club jams that morph into world music-infused trip-hop; smooth jazz and lounge shares space with epic, orchestral soul-bearing pieces; and saxophones battle sitars in a no-holds-barred match to be the instrument of choice brought to the drunken sing-a-longs. Surprisingly, the album is incredibly cohesive. Somehow Innaspace presents the mess of styles as a collage of influences and admirations. As each track plays out, you get the feeling that it was made spontaneously as a reflection of how he was feeling and what he was thinking at that instant. How refreshing: a new-school hip hop album that doesn't try to make a statement or take itself too seriously. Anticon it ain't. Spiral Walls it (Thankfully) ain't. This is more like The Holy Modal Rounders or Captain Beefheart. Space is here to have fun, to experiment, and to let his musical/lyrical wind sock spin in whichever way the wind blows.
If you know Innaspace, then you might expect his brother and Why Knows bandmate Existereo to show up; and likewise his friend Hamburglar. Although they show up, I get the feeling this is all Space. And how fortunate that it is! Wild, fresh music, some of my favorite. The album title, New Colour, is a perfect summation of what this is: It's shit you've never seen before.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Great and Secret Show


Mix Tape Godz

All props to the Mixtapegodz for upping this one. Here's the OG promo cd for "The Greatest Show" from back in '96. With dark, smokey production from Mumbles, Acey fits the mood with a long, basically chorus-less abstract tangent that ends abruptly without resolution. It's a musical and lyrical combo that always leaves me feeling edgy and a little uncomfortable. Because of the producer/rapper interplay, the vibe of this track fits Acey's second solo record A Book Of Human Language much more than on All Balls, which had a more light-hearted and energetic feel. But I can dig that it was a wise inclusion on All Balls, at least in retrospect, as it pointed the direction that Ace One would take in the following year.
This cd features Fat Jack's great remix of the title track, as well as the remix instrumental, which ingeniously switches the time signature from 6/4 to standard 4/4 time. This is an interesting track, since it's probably the darkest music I've ever heard from the Elephant. He's a masterful producer who knows how and when to cater his beat to the emcee's style and vibe. Jay Supreme and DJ Moe come with the "Bar 9 Remix", which slows the beat down to a crawl, and pushes Ab Rude's vocal contributions up in the mix.
The inclusion of "Show Your Right" (another Fat Jack production) and its instrumental close out the cd. It's a great track (which can pretty much be said about anything Acey dropped around this time) that allegedly features Abstract, but in what capacity I can't tell. But just listen to that beat! I could hear that all day. Most of this showed up on the Revisited version of All Balls, but I don't think the instrumental tracks did. Whatever. It's dope. Listen.

Just Lettin Yall Know...


The Chukchee

...The dope site Chuckchee just posted up a gang of wonderfulness for all you LA2TheBay heads. Mostly JKC and Xolo joints. Just passing the information for those not in the know...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Request...


Beats and Peaces

Request... When I was 20 years old I packed up everything I owned into my Toyota hatchback and drove down I-5 to Venice Beach, California. I found a place to live a block from the ocean, and also a block from Benway Music on Pacific Avenue. I found a job working at a bookstore literally on the beach. I'd spend my days working and hanging out on the boardwalk, and during the evenings I'd haunt Benway's. Some nights I'd drive out to Westwood and hang out at Rhino Records or Penny Lane Records (where my girlfriend worked). Or I'd head over to Aaron's Records or the Penny Lane in Santa Monica. Before long I started hearing the same trippy, nocturnal, murky songs playing at these shops, and I began hearing the same names being dropped again and again - OD, Hive, Dilated Peoples, the Shapeshifters, the Visionaries, and (the only name I was familiar with at that time) Freestyle Fellowship (Who I thought had broken up). All these artists were on this new album that had just come out - Steve and Courtney at Penny Lane would not stop playing it - called Beneath the Surface, and it wouldn't take long before its sound seeped into my subconscious and became my daily soundtrack. I shelled out the cash for the vinyl at Benway's, walked home, and set the needle on the intro track from Alien Nation. The rest is history, at least to me. Any of you who read this blog know what a geek I am over that record to this day. I can safely say that I've played no other record as much as that one. It's perfect.
I consider OD to be the architect of the sound of LA, more so than the Baka Boyz, or Dre, or Fat Jack, or Battlecat. Sure those visionary producers deserve their praises, but when I hear hip hop today I don't hear their influence like I hear OD's. From his four-track beats using his trademark eerie stoned flute loops, to his frenetic, jazzy, drum-heavy beats, to his glitch-infused digital world music, his touch is still audible in the city of angels - I hear his mark everywhere from Deeskee and Nobody, to Daedelus, and Thavius, and a score of others.
I know I'm dating myself here. I was an adolescent and grew into adulthood in the '90's, and I've seen people time and time again fall into the trap where they never quite climb out of their "glory days". It's quite possible that I just tune into what I already like and feel comfortable with, to the exclusion of the rest. But with OD I know that he is special, as a producer, as an organizer, and as the man who elevated a group of amazing, young talent from hometown hero status to a worldwide phenomena. In addition, he gave them a unified sound, a cohesion that for better or worse joined them together (at least in my mind) from more than a loosely-knit collection of like-minded artists into a band, or even a family.
BTS was the sounding board for me to pursue the music of those LA artists. And thankfully, most of them are still active and making great, great music to this day. OD has remained prolific and respected as ever. I may have a hard time doing it but he obviously embraces change. His style continually evolves and stays fresh. This release, which came out in 2003 is in no way indicative of his present style but it does offer a snapshot of a period of growth. Likewise, it isn't as revolutionary as BTS, but then again it isn't supposed to be. This is just a collection of his music, period. Some familiar faces are present (Freestyle Fellowship, OMD, Jizzm, Neila, etc), but mostly OD does it instrumentally. It's beautiful music, from a man who has made my life a whole lot more fascinating and enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. And I know I'm not alone out there.
So Cali life ultimately wasn't for me, and within the year I moved back up to the northwest where the pace is slower and the people are swarthier. But thanks exclusively to OD, I'm still a fanatic over LA underground, and feel blessed to have been there at that time, if only to watch and listen, to observe everything very closely. Here's your chance to do so as well:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mic Check


Everyone Knows Who's The Savior

More Aceyalone, this time his debut solo 12" "Mic Check". This is the promo that has the clean, instrumental, edit, and accapella versions of the track. One of the greatest songs in hip hop, in my humble opinion, as well as being a song that typifies the artist at his artistic, mind-warping pinnacle. Give it a listen for old-times' sake.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Anacron Album!!!!




PEACE.
For your listening consideration...


In his first album-length artist/producer collaboration ever, the Unfamous Anacron introduces virtually unknown but immensely talented West Coast producer Josh Jetson. Both active members of the world-famous L.A. Breakers breakdancing crew, Anacron and Josh bonded while facing rival crews in heated battles, prior to connecting in another arena to create this impending underground classic.

Anacron's advanced and constantly evolving flow and songwriting talents pair well with Josh Jetson's neo-futuristic production style, meshing to project a clear vision of what the future of hip hop music will sound like. Covering an array of topics that range from the standard "relationship rap" to an open letter of gratitude to those that appreciate art, Anacron swings into full form on this album, holding nothing back in his lyrical composition and delivery, while performing breathtaking instrumental and vocal arrangements.

Josh Jetson's beat production blends new school craftsmanship with true school structure, creating an edgy and experimental sound while maintaining an open level of accessibility. Whether turning over an up-tempo club track or free-forming an oddly assembled time signature, Josh is without question a mastermind behind the boards. The exchange between these two artists is a perfect match, creating a back-and-forth cohesion of adventurous creativity that is unparalleled by any artist/producer pair in today's hip-hop market.

With an impressive line-up of featured artists from almost every vein of the West Coast's independent music scene, The LAb eXperiment boasts a revolving door of emerging new talents and seasoned musical vets. Notably; stand-out features include Brandon Jordan formerly of the punk-rock outfit KillRadio, as well as west coast underground rap pioneers Megabusive and Himself. Newcomers include Floridian soul/pop singer Sarah Jane, and indie/alt rock group Mirden (with Minni Jo Mazzola of television series "Parks and Recreation").


Stream/buy it here:
http://bit.ly/TheLAbX
Thanks for taking the time to discover something you may not have been previously familiar with. This is how the evolution of artistic originality continues...

Enjoy the music!


Reviews lifted from the press release and from the Bandcamp album site.