Fresh new beats from Knxwledge, making his debut with Stones Throw Records. Hud Dreems emerges, naturally enough, from the Low End Theory LA scene, and the 26 tracks of soulful and grooving instrumental hip-hop heard here are enough to make the producer stand up from a busy and highly talented field. Double LP.
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I should get danger money for doing these reviews - seriously, I need medical assistance after this one. Why? My neck hurts - this is just one long headnodder of an album. Do they still use that term - necksnapper - when referring to this sort of hip-hop? Well its appropriate. Knxwledge (aka Knowledge for those that will hit up Discogs after getting their hands on this) has turned in a proper journey of a beat tape. On paper this could sound boring, 26 tracks of instrumental hip-hop, no superstar or even up & coming guest MC's thrown in to add glamour / grit / controversy - just beats.
However this producer has given us a treat - a real buffet of beats, funky samples woven into the mix in a way even J Dilla would be pleased with. In fact he seems to have mastered that trick of syncopation with stutter; off tempo hits somehow creating a new tempo, that Dilla seemed to pioneer. It goes with out saying that those that picked up 'Donuts' will love this, similarly fans of Madlib, Ras G, Flying Lotus and Taylor McFerrin will find this essential.
Its hard to pick out highlights - this really is best heard as a whole, taken in isolation I'm not sure that some of these tracks would make a lot of sense. Overlaid vocal snippets, melodies drifting in and out, rolling drum rolls, echo, spoken word, smoky soul atmospherics, funky breaks - these may all appear in a track of 2 minutes length. Taken alone it may sound odd, messy even but alongside the rest when even more is thrown in - soundtrack horns for example on 'nvrending' - the album becomes coherant, intoxicating and actually quite beautiful. Laid back guitar licks on 'demskreets.fekts' add a nice counterpoint to the tougher beats that follow for example.
This is going to be a keeper of a record, it pays homage to hip hop, referencing the modern greats work in the process. Its samples, overall vibe and feel really hark back to the sound of dusty fingers, digging in the crates and yep - those neck snapping beats. However this is no nostalgia trip - its more cosmic excursions reference the jazz & electronica experiments of the Brainfeeder camp & Low End Theory crew. Whilst in many respects the lack of MC's gives focus to the music, the lack of one or two killer tracks, or the kind of hooks that a strong MC or vocalist could have brought to the album will probably see this stay the preserve of the underground, and prevent this from being a classic. However while my spine holds up I'm gonna keep nodding away.
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