Klaus Layer : The Adventures Of Captain Crook

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Redef Records continue to put out high quality Hip Hop with that Golden Era Boom Bap feel with the new Klaus Layer release. The German producer has combined his love for old cinema, surrealist art and 90’s Hip Hop to make a beat tape that sounds natural and unforced; his samples are clear, his beats thump with that airy MPC sound and his composition allows your mind to wander within each track as he inconspicuously builds the mood. All Of The Time gets your head nodding from the outset as flute harmonies make up the refrain and clever use of group vocals fill the low end. The song moves quickly from section to section, keeping it simple with the main elements then getting more technical on his percussive lines; the shakers and hi-hats alone could form another wholly interesting song.

Company is the zag amidst the two zigs tracks One and Three provide with their more classic sound. On this more meandering number, Klaus wades his way through a deep lake of sound and paddles about down the bottom for the song’s duration. Every sample has an electric warmth that is washed over by an aqueous tide that makes you feel like you’re scuba diving with Pete Rock. The drums are harder than on the first track and employ that time-honoured pattern of the boom and the bap to back up the more experimental sampling. It’s a cool change of feel with some shrewd placement.

Into A Sky employs more traditional instrumentation; smooth horns ride soft piano loops, and the echo of the snare plus a lot of swing equals another solid song. Again the producer perfectly captures a sound that has been mimicked to the point of parody, but never fails to be enjoyable when executed well. Blu seems to been going through a transitory period recently, his flows on the new EP with Nottz and again on Klaus’s Illest In Charge are more assertive and cocky, and his new tone is more in line with the raspier side of Kendrick than the mellow cool of Q Tip. He spends most of his verse talking about flashy shit in a grating tone, making the instrumental at the end a more chilled listen. In My Mind delves into 60’s rock psychedelia with relish to bring things back on track and re-expand the musical horizons Klaus is reaching for, ending the first side of his new tape on a strong note, even if it is a bit muddier than his other samples .

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Side 2 starts strong with Truly‘s minimal drum breaks, old school bass lines and nebulous trumpet stabs as they fade in and out, vibrating against the gloom he’s creating; this is the type of song that the cassette player combo was meant for; zoning out, riding a night bus through the city to these sounds. Any DOOM fans will recognize the sample on Touch,  and no doubt it takes balls to flip something so dear to many underground heads; when it came on I had to stop what I was doing and wait like; ‘Alright then, what you got?’ He didn’t disappoint. The drum sound speaks volumes about how he was coming at this one, he’s swinging for the fences with an aggressive take on the source material that’s a great listen. 

Things stay funky but on a calmer tip with Slow It Down. His vocal chops and ear for good melody are brought into focus again by some really nice selections, the expert use of vocal lines especially setting The Adventures Of Captain Crook apart from it’s contemporaries. Many people go as far as to find a loop and some drums; less find vocals that match a mood being created then arrange many elements to form a full sound. The second vocal track Come Back is one of the catchiest beats on the tape, the horns and scratches of the chorus easily compensating for the song falling slightly flat once more on lyrical content, although the bars do carry a lot of style. Klaus’s new tape is perfect listening to kick back or travel to, and now with Damu and Redef behind him, the man formerly known as Captain Crook is set to continue onto new musical heights.

You can buy the album on Cassette, Vinyl or CD here. Or grab a free digital download here.

4/5.

Peace.

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