For years Mitsu The Beats has been flying the flag for independent Hip Hop in his native country of Japan, making beautifully arranged instrumentals that are notoriously hard to cop on vinyl as he expands upon the jazz-laden loops Nujabes brought to prominence. This loving tribute to J Dilla marks the first time Mitsu has made his tunes available on an easy to buy platform like bandcamp, opening his music up to a wider audience outside of record collector circles and sample-hungry beat junkies.
It’s Dilla’s essence that seems to provide the main inspiration as Mitsu evokes the chilled, uplifting feeling that radiated from Jay’s music; moving beyond the realms of the obvious by cutting back on the un-quantized kicks and heavy swing that would characterize a more overt tribute. Speaking on Dilla’s innovative Fantastic Volume 2 and Welcome To Detroit albums, Mitsu states; ‘I have never been influenced so much by music in my life, and probably never will be.’ This heavy respect can be felt throughout as his intention ‘to dedicate an album for him in order to reflect on my present self’ manifests in every essential track, making Celebration Of Jay one of the classier odes to the SV sample king.
Wes Pendleton’s first release since linking with Cali label Mellow Orange features nine smooth new grooves that take a fresh approach towards soul sampling. Hours diggin’ find the Philly-based producer flipping warming soul chops on Say Word?, looping infectious horns under soaring vocals on Love Shonuff, and bringing that Detriot bump with crisp hats and orchestral flourishes on Stop Talking.
His skill for extending loops to the point of memorability whilst keeping his chops varied ensures his sound stays exciting throughout; by the time Do No Wrong kicked in I was thinking of ways to get the money for the vinyl. Mad Loop breezes through with an effortless steez before understated jazz loops bloom on You’re Mine, and Just Right layers uplifting strings over lounging pianos.
The Passion exhibits Pendleton’s darker side as he subtly weaves delicate guitar runs around hazy keys, while percussive drum patterns wind down this ill EP on The Dawn, fortified by glowing vocoder hooks from 42North. Wes has come a long way since he began beatmaking on Garage Band back in ’99; hopefully this is just a taster of his skilful musicianship and natural ear for composition, because Loopwhole is one of the most polished beat tapes I’ve heard this year.
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 Crookleft 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 subtlybreaks 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.
Throat Chop U and TMB-Music.com are bringing heat on their latest beat tape; after spending six months assembling twelve instrumentals formed from the Queen Of Soul’s extensive back catalogue, this dope collection of Franklin flips spans the full spectrum of boom-bap beatmaking. Dr Khil begins on an upbeat with phat drum sounds under an infectious vocal chop on No Getting By Without You, followed by A Star For Everyone‘s winding journey through Aretha’s lighter side courtesy of Wisconsin-based producer Madden Miles.
Starchild’s funky breaks bring the groove on Got It Right; before Master Of Eyes provides a highlight as Dr Quandary neatly places cuts around a central refrain backed by crisp drum work.It was Moteleola’s catchy vocal cuts on Call Me that sparked the idea for this release, and after one listen you can see why; his ear for loops is impeccable, and while his song structure retains it’s core melodic drive, the extra elements he adds keeps you glued. Maticulouschanges up the pace on Listen, creating a chilled, electronic interpretation of Aretha’s ’68 smash House That Jack Built, and although Ross Munroe’s Roc-A-Lot bangs, a distorted low end makes it unlistenable after the polished sounds that preceded it.
Handbook assembles the stand-out track as his dusted snare and rounded kick bumps with a human swing on Angel, leaving HP The Hybrid to to complete this two-track climax with Removed Stitches’ similarly staggered kick-hat shuffle. Start to finish the tape knocks hard, and after a few smaller labels releasing beat compilations recently, it’s good to see more people taking the initiative by embracing this easily digestible, entertaining format.