So, being an internet hipster, you'll be wanting a bit of the ol' boom-bap. Rise from your slumbers and emit a half-baked "yay", for fLako (German beats via Berlin & London) and Noir (New Orleans rap) have combined to produce Pearls, a six-track EP released by the righteously funky Kwatro netlabel.
Disappointingly, only two one of the tracks are is available to hear outside of the zipped free full album. Kwatro are so hip it hurts, but it's awkward to get hold of their music. Pearls is available via a zShare account, which will strike fear into anyone not particularly au fait with the net - like my good self. It's ostensibly a matter of following the download instructions, but that's not the point. Netlabels, trust me on this: we surfers (ok, me) are mostly simpletons - if you want your releases to be heard, make it easy for visitors to download them. Netlabels with a one-click download system are the way to go, though I'd like to make it clear that I'm extremely grateful to all and sundry for the free music. End of moan. Are we still friends? Handshakes? Hugs? How about a quick -
Sorry. I got carried away.
Back to the sounds: Milky Way is a low-key tale of crime and commerce backed by fLako's understated rhythm and smooth soul; Paparazzi sees a Hammond organ massage a dreamy background vocal and a gentle beat before Noir crashes in, as rappers do, with a snare drum and his opinion of fame and fortune. Edit: Paparazzi is now available only as part of the zipped album file. Don't hit me.fLako x Noir - Milky Way by flako
While fair tracks, I would have chosen some of the other
four on the EP to entice listeners, particularly Cosmic Theory and the head-nodding wOoop,
the latter title doubling up for the sound you'll make when the
beat drops. None of these outings are longer than three minutes so there's little chance of the beats outstaying their welcome.
Now, you might be one of the many who love hip-hop and find nothing more immediately satisfying than a dusty drum-beat that's tighter than my budget, but who ...hate rap. C'mon, own up. Noir makes a good job of spittin' (Yeah, kids. CTW is down with the, er, lingo) on Pearls, but, like it or not, some people want to get to the main course without interference from a maitre'd. What to do, what to do? I know, let's see if fLako can help to find us some beats that don't feature bad language and...
Sigh. Still, that's the only swearword on the whole fucking album, wherein you'll find twenty (Recession? What recession?) snippets of instrumental hip-hop goodness. Most of the twenty tracks on The First Space Shit On The Moon are less than two minutes long, yet they're not just extended loops; they're instrumental hip-hop miniatures that are wonderfully varied, from the rankin' Shake It Harder to the slinky Crying On The In. What vocals there are consist of the merest snippets that act as a musical counterpoint rather than the dominant theme. Whether you're a hip-hop listener or producer, there's a lot to enjoy and learn from. How much variety is there among this fistful of beats? Let a master wordsmith paraphrase for you:
All right, we got white boom-bap, black boom-bap, Spanish boom-bap, yellow boom-bap, we got hot boom-bap, cold boom-bap, we got wet boom-bap, we got [sniffs] smelly boom-bap, we got hairy boom-bap, bloody boom-bap, we got snappin' boom-bap, we got silk boom-bap, velvet boom-bap, Naugahyde boom-bap, we even got horse boom-bap, dog boom-bap, chicken boom-bap! Come on, you want boom-bap, come on in, boom-bap lovers! If we don't got it, you don't want it! Come on in, boom-bap lovers!
You can't beat Shakespeare.
But there's a small problem. You've guessed it - only two tracks to hear outside of the free zipped album. These are Sparkling Dust, a cheerful, dub-ish slice of boom-bap, and Desert Ride, a dusty beat with a hint of rock music - a track that'll hint at the variety to be found on The First, etc. Again, they're not the tracks I'd have chosen, but we all know that I am to discernment what ice-cream is to athleticism.fLako Sparkling Dust by flako fLako Desert Ride by flako
The loose, almost sloshed, nature of some of the rhythms and synth sounds remind me of the previously reviewed Comfort Fit, whose new commercial release, Polyshufflez LP, is available from Tokyo Dawn Records. (Incidentally, TD's 24-carat back catalogue contains an almost unknown entity: free and genuinely good hip-hop. Run, Forrest, run.)
My thanks to the good volk at the always superb Phlow, where one of their many album discussion threads pointed me to fLako. So, if you don't mind braving the aforementioned pestilential download scheme, please scoop up these two lovely slices of beat-based distraction from real life. Stick your chest out and have a go. After all, it's one small shit for man...