Klaus Layer : For The People Like Us


Klaus Layer’s modern reinterpretations of the Golden-Era sound continue to improve with every new release Redef presses to wax. His ear for memorable loops and dedication to granular, low-bit breaks ensures his beats stay dusted, and while the sample sources that distinguish his sound might be vintage, his approach to sampling is anything but. The title track picks up where The Adventures Of Captain Crook left off with a hefty helping of filtered loops and swinging snares; but it’s on Kool aka Resurgent Branch where things become interesting. There’s more vocal cuts than before, more focus on the bassline, and shorter chops arranged throughout to accentuate phrases, it seems Klaus is living up to that surname, with sequencing that shows more variation this time around. Washed-out notes linger in mid-air then cascade over raspy drums on Sun Is Up, while Dreams Of Yesterday subtly breaks up the boom-bap, before Animals Garden brings that bump back with head-rocking kick patterns under a neat guitar loop.

Lounging keys recline against neck-snapping snares on Be As You Are, then Klaus switches sample source and flips some eighties electronic ambience on No Pantomime, before No Joke kicks with hype vocal cuts and a break so dusty hitting play might make you sneeze. The sweeping strings of Watching Fireflies soon fade into Coming Into The World‘s summertime vibes as an ethereal Rhodes loop fizzes amidst mellow pipes on this highlight; while the smooth, Madlib-style vocal chops of Symbol Of Tomorrow end another quality collection of instrumentals from Klaus Layer; if his diggin’ continues to expand in musical scope, and his flirtation with other genres continues to be reflected in his arrangements, there can only be many more flawless instrumentals from the Berlin-based producer on the horizon.

Buy it here.



Raw Product : Supplying The Demand


Spreading their message of ‘trueness, not newness’ , Mista Flix and De Facto Entertainment head-honcho Stealf are about to release their first  LP, Supplying The Demand. Since collaborating on Flix’ Lord Of the Real EP series, the duo have been hard at work honing their particular brand of British boom-bap; and with a tracklist brimming with solid tunes that feature the likes of Micall Parknsun, Cappo, Jehst and Twizzy; Raw Product are about to put out a début that’s sure to get those underground heads noddin’. Stealf’s traditional take on production is strengthened by his use of the MPC60; following in Premo’s footsteps by sticking to this beatmaking foundation to forge dusted breaks for Flix to destroy; which he does on every track, flowing like someone dissed Hip Hop and he made it his personal mission to defend it.

After an entertaining intro that subtly let’s you know the beat game is on point; Count Me In begins  rugged and hard-hitting, followed by fresh flows from Parky on Sicksteen; the YNR productions MC and producer piling on heaps of style, ‘still diggin in the crates like Finesse, I’m a diamond in the rough with the flows I possess’. Hide & Seek sees Stealf looping a well-known record, yet still stamping his unique I.D on the track with inventive sampling that takes the tune in a new direction, and inspires Flix to deliver more raw rhymes with a well-written hook. Nottingham-based hard-hitter Cappo storms the track with his inimitable lyrical projectiles on Major Weight, killing it after a serious start from Flix, and Jabba The Kut’s wax-mangling chorus.


 Stealf’s gully beat on Akaimatics provides one of Supplying The Demand‘s finest moments, as Flix name-drops classic raps from some of the culture’s best known audio artifacts; before Jehst’s guest bars on the dope D.I.T.C-style steez of Choose Your Weapon takes the track to new heights, with intricate bars that harbour the same hunger he had on Return Of The Drifter; and Flix pens a fitting dedication the 5 elements on another catchy chorus; ‘Choose your weapon, put the pen to the pad, hit the rubbers on the Akai every time that you’re mad.’ The verbal attack Mista Flix fires off ends as urgently as it begun; joined by a final feature from Three Headed Beast MC Twizzy, who blesses Stealf’s stand-out beat by rhyming with an honesty you can’t manufacture; and brings a fat chorus with him to boot.

Supplying The Demand is a strong start from the De Facto duo; their obvious love the for the music and D.I.Y work ethic translates into tunes that will resonate with Hip Hop fans worldwide. This short introduction into their musical process continues the traditions that UK Hip Hop artists before them worked to establish; retaining integrity and pride through a clear vision of where they want to be creatively; with no time for anything except heavy breaks and hard bars.

The album drops May 30th. You can pre-order it digitally, grab the parcel-wrapped, hand-stamped special edition CD, or buy it bundled with the Choose Your Weapon 7″, here.



Daryl Donald : Kept


If you’re as into chilled instrumentals as much as I am you need to get Kept asap. This 21 year old Scottish producer takes vibrant percussion, warm, glowing samples and aggy rap lines then gently heats them until they form a smooth, smokey blend of instrumentals that coats your ears in a soothing glow. He’s come along way from looping drums over old soul on a demo of Fruity Loops at the age of fifteen; now incorporating Akai’s MPD controller into his workflow as he finds his own style, with an outlook aligned with ‘it’s not what you use, but how you use it‘. Planets evolves throughout it’s short incarnation, propelled by the percussive pulse of it’s wooden clicks that lead into the short chops on Science; with the producer creating a calmness that envelops your headspace. On Aura he loops a lumbering drum beak over mellow piano chords and adds some synth lines to lift the song’s  middle section; whereas Softly sees him taking a more reserved approach to sampling; riffing off one clean, layered loop off crisp drum sounds. Human Condition begins with a thought-provoking sample; before clicks and claps linger over rap lines, punctuated by an occasional use of Charlie Sloth’s favourite Run DMC sample.

The clean snares and laidback hi-hats that drive Rain add an urgency to the emotive piano samples; before the EP closes with a more upbeat groove as Gato‘s smooth sax resonates through a kick-heavy mix that stays a short while before fading out and leaving you wanting more. His sequencing throughout is excellent, the songs are brief and catchy with crystal clear loops and drums that punch; and his use of vocal samples is minimal, but lend Kept that Hip Hop edge. With his range of influence constantly expanding; Daryl’s music has the capacity to grow into any style he pursues, and is sure to provide many more serene listening experiences as his particular brand of chilled instrumentals finds it’s voice.

Keep an eye on his soundcloud for more beats being added regularly; and get Kept for free, here.



Bambu Hands : The Lost Soul


As one of the crate diggin’ devotees over at North-West UK label Northern Structure; Bambu Hands has been proficient in the art of sampling for a while, and with this latest instalment in a series of themed beat tapes, he takes all his old soul vinyl and alchemically transforms them into twenty two dusty instrumentals to get your head nodding. Utilizing the archetypal MPC2000xl, and the iconic SP1200 via every effects unit he could get his ( Bambu ) hands on; the producer found his own twist on the classic boom bap recipe, blended it with plenty of natural swing, and topped that mix with a hefty helping of clattering snares straight out of the golden era. He even went as far as to record his tracks to tape after finishing them; lending the entire album that warm, analog glow that acts as Hip Hop Horlicks for the vinyl-hungry.

The Script‘s amazingly lucid loops and tight kick patterns establish the vintage sound that courses throughout the tape, before Pass It Over plays out like lost Lord Finesse; coming steeped in the sound of the street with rugged snares for days and a dope use of the ubiquitous fading sax stab that’s been seeing heavy use ever since No I.D’s use of the technique on Common’s Resurrection album. The low-filtered funk on Bad Vibes blows through like a calm breeze; giving rise to Soul Brother‘s echoing snares and catchy brass notes, before nocturnal vibes creep in on Late Night Shift and the tape takes a turn down a darker path. Just One Wrong Move is a guttural, menacing track that leaves you anticipating a blade to the ribs at any second.

Jehst’s esoteric words echo through nebulous notes on Thick Mist, followed shortly after by DOOM’s ‘got more soul (sole) than a sock with a hole’ on Close To Midnight’s spaced-out jazz loops as the tape continues it’s ascent; escalating it’s efforts at the point most beat tapes begin to decline. With this volume of tracks keeping the listening interesting for the duration is no easy feat, but seems to be sidestepped with ease by the producer as he switches up the raw styles from minor sounds to a more major key towards The Lost Soul‘s end. The heavy ambience of Dirty Money captures emotion with a film-score steez; pitched vocal chops haunt the distance on Caught Up, hounded by minimalist, vibrant brass that rings out clearly as Daily Bread invites you to lounge out to it’s calming tones. Premium harnesses the power of Verb T’s words from his YNR début to speak of eternal life, then It’s Over stacks subdued breaks over yet more catchy loops, with a supreme selection of short chops that close the tape on a high. The Lost Soul comes draped in nostalgia, and despite a clear ability to emulate classic production unbelievably well; it’s going to be cool to see where this promising producer takes his music on future projects, without the limitation of sampling only old soul breaks.


The Lost Soul is out now on Northern Structure Records, you can grab it here, and keep up on what the label are lining up for 2014 here.