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.



Damu The Fudgemunk : Public Assembly


Redefinition Records co-owner and prolific Washington-based producer Damu The Fudgemunk never fails to bring the heat, and with a sound that passionately embraces Hip Hop’s roots yet always brings something new to the table, his latest LP is no exception. Re-mastered by veteran producer K-Def, Public Assembly merges previously unreleased songs with hard to find versions of his more popular tracks, and although the vinyl release was originally intended to coincide with the WFMU record fair in New York, with a street date of July 8th; the label are shipping orders online right now.

Hole Up comes draped in the 90’s sound, with vibraphone lines flowing over lazy horns and a song structure that holds more in common with free jazz than it does your average boom-bap-beatsmith; furthering Damu’s recent move beyond linear song progression to form meandering, musically progressive sections over rugged breaks.Truly Get Yours treads the line between subtlety and heavy-handedness with agility; while his Wings Remix of the Union & Elzhi track stands out for it’s dusted drum hits, and Madvillain Revision takes Madlib’s original to smooth new plains; replacing the goofy charm of the DOOM version with echoing horns, melodic vocals and a bubbling crescendo that had me reciting Guru lyrics.

Streamline is one of his freshest instrumentals so far; with so many serene sample choices you’d think every chop came off the same record; while Overthrone showcases his skill for layering complimentary sounds, as he cuts classic rhymes into this hazy blend that smoothly transitions into the lounging ballroom jazz of Same Beat. His 2010 Supply For Demand LP provides the OG mix of Bright Side, continuing the chilled vibes with complimentary chord changes and constantly inventive snare hits; leaving Yes We Can to close this dope compilation with a shuffling hi-hat pattern amid infectious vocal cuts and winding sax lines. Unsurprisingly, Public Assembly is rock solid from start to finish, serving as a perfect introduction for the newcomer, and a handy re-issue for the vinyl-eager Redef completist.

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Get the brown or black vinyl editions here, or the digital download here.



Damu The Fudgemunk: Spur Momento Trailer.


Damu was a Sumerian God that brought vegetation, healing and abundance to the people of ancient Mespotamia. Damu The Fudgemunk is a God from Washington, DC. who brings ill beats for Y Society, cuts and scratches for Panacea and solo beat tapes to the people of Hip Hop. He also co-owns and runs Redefinition records, and releases albums by a roster of artists digitally, on vinyl, and sometimes on cassette.

This latest beat tape from Redefinition captures the sound of one man creating soundscapes on an MPC 2000 with flair and creativity. Most new ‘producer’ albums these days are all put together using timecoded vinyl, digital audio workstations and wav files downloaded from itunes. Damu keeps it traditional with sound and method, digging for breaks and loops to add to his huge record collection, flipping those samples into thick, layered compositions that are experimental yet classically rooted, then recording all his stuff on to floppy disks through the Akai. It’s really an album you need to sit down with headphones on and just appreciate; if you’re a Hip Hop producer, turntablist or gear hound, it’s nerd heaven. For the casual listener, it’s something relaxing, elevating and beautiful to chill out to that bumps along hard at the same time.


Over Seven tracks Damu takes you through a musical journey, guided by speech samples for narration as he effortlessly blends organic and digital sounds through a funky, old school, boom bap filter. Redef Mission Statement lets you know whats up from the get-go. They Who Flock is so catchy and well constructed it should be used for all xmas jingles this year so the ‘sheep’ from the hook can join hands and sing it gleefully unaware that they’re dissin’ themselves, it’s one of the strongest openers I’ve heard in a while.

Damu’s strength is in his understatement; as the waves of sound build to crescendos and then descend again nothing is rushed or overwhelming. He has a knack for introducing each new element with exact timing; the oft-used masquerade sample that B.I.G popularised made me laugh out loud when it came in it was so well-placed and refreshing after some of the gaudy use it’s been subjected to over the years.

Assembly Line has this indie feel that’s reminiscent of French electro outfit Air. It’s catchy enough, and is a good audible example of the amalgamation of old and new. The drums especially are crisp, clear and funky and add a focal point to this slightly meandering track. Fades Em Gone (Organ Grinder) kicks in with it’s low bass buzz coarsing beneath high electronic beeps and organ loops. It’s a great piece of nostalgic, jazzy electronica that benefits from an updated Hip Hop beat. The last few minutes are really noteworthy, as the rugged drive of the original rhythm exchanges it’s heavy handed bombastic approach to a cooler, church bell melody that teases a drum break then fades as quickly as it came.


The Discs used in assembling Spur Momento Trailer.

The second half begins with Blizzard tearing up the speaker as whirls of woodwind and strings swoop around digital blips and a rolling drum break. Three and a half minutes isn’t long enough; even though it took a few listens, it’s quickly becoming a stand out track overall and a real highlight on a short album full of highlights. Damu takes it Old School on Trenchcoat, Fedora & Briefcase with a 90’s beat updated for the now; complete with note stabs, a distinctive Eastcoast feel, subtle violins and some eerie female choral lines that are all dying for an MC like Jeru or G Rap to lay waste to. Things close with the mellow tones of Meadows, scratches glide along subtly underneath the surface, the melodies twinkle as if passing on the breeze, the whole track feels like such a throwback you can almost see the baggy Fila jumpsuits through the bassline. Labels like Redefinition are reigniting the golden era and bringing musical composition back to the forefront of modern American Hip Hop. If you never go without owning at least one copy of Illmatic & can finish the line ‘On the amen, corner I stood…’ then this new album from one of instrumental Hip Hop’s most dedicated, talented and righteous rising stars needs to be in your collection today.

Cop the double vinyl here.  

 Download the digital here.