DJ Shadow : The Liquid Amber EP

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Since he single-handedly elevated the art of sampling through his Hollywood BASIC mixes and pioneering Mo Wax full-length Entroducing; DJ Shadow has tirelessly dug for new sounds, creating emotive audio collages with a consistently re-inventive approach. Every new release sees the Californian producer sounding years ahead of the game, and as his first new project in two years and the inaugural release on his new imprint of the same name, The Liquid Amber EP is no different.

Ghost Town immediately scatters any preconceptions as Shadow’s skill for genre-bending sees him neatly evading two glaring drops while brooding electronics loom heavily throughout a thick low end; and by the mid-point his intricate web of melodies morph from crunk, gun-fingers-to-the-sky moments to sweeping atmospherics with ease; anchored by the deep grooves his scatter-shot snare patterns create. On the G-Funk steez of Mob he builds ascending trap synths around hectic drums to fortify echoing vocal cuts; while Machinedrum’s bass-heavy, footwork-influenced take on Six Days retains the subtlety of the original, while surfing a pumping rhythmic undercurrent to the EP’s conclusion. This exciting taste of things to come from one of Hip Hop’s most progressive proponents is as immersive and challenging as ever; proving that even at a time when everyone and their dog is making wobbly drops on Fruit Loops, the dedicated sample-heads still reign.

Download Ghost Town for free here.

Peace.

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184 & Button Eyes : Rag N Bone Man Remixes

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Sprawling musical collective Button Eyes have just dropped two fresh versions of Rag N Bone Man’s recent single Lay My Body Down. Taken from the UK Soul singer’s recent Best Laid Plans EP Wolves, the original is a smouldering, melancholy ballad with clean, beautifully sung vocals that just beg for the remix treatment. London producer 184 transforms the tune by opting for a full-scale drum n bass assault with his mix, while the Button Eyes blend selects a more reserved option by adding distorted slide guitar over atmospheric keys and Hip Hop breaks. Both lift the sombre original to new heights without retracting from it’s subtleties, making for uplifting listening from this creative hub.

Check a selection of their tunes here.

Peace!

The Boot EP Remixes

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It’s only been a few months since Cappo, Jazz T and Zygote dropped the Boot EP, and already their ill originals have been blessed with remixes from some of the UK’s finest producers. Telemachus, Jehst, Mr Brown and Sam Zircon all get creative with Cappo’s versatile rhymes, forming stylistically individual tracks that all retain an unmistakeably British sliver of grimness.

Telemachus starts with a stealthy re-imagining of Yul Brynner that blooms on a melodic hook before quickly shrinking back into the bass-driven shadows of the brooding verses, while Mr Brown loops a dusted break under dramatic stabs with a gritty low-end groove on Kitted Out. High Plains Drifter and YNR Productions head honcho Jehst assembles a spaced-out instrumental as Cappo spits ‘that raw, un-programmable Orson Welles shit’ on Out Of Your Mind, before Sam Zircon closes out this dope EP with another clandestine jazz flip, stacking subtle vibraphones next to menacing keys as Tree Frog sneaks through your speaker.

Buy it here.

Peace.

D.I.T.C – The Remix Project

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The Diggin In The Crates Crew just put out this ill remix album as a thank you to the fans for twenty years of support. Obviously the beats and rhymes are top-notch, with non-stop boom-bap slickness from beginning to end, as the unit utilize their world-class in-house production, while allowing a few of their their upper-echelon alumni to reshape their classic tracks. Alchemist sets it off with military precision as his tense string samples set the scene for the crew’s lyrical murder on We All, while Bink’s remix of Da Enemy is so fly you might get vertigo, and L’s legendary rhymes stick fast to the track like Olympic sprinters, leaving Joey Crack to end the tune with a heavyweight verse.

After Apollo Brown’s dope work on his 12 Reasons To Die tape last year and a masterfully-crafted Planet Asia remix EP, it’s no surprise his soulful take on All Love is an album highlight. The drums drop in and out to keeps you guessing, and his dynamic horn arrangements swirl through the mix over nicely underplayed kicks, accommodating only the finest rhymes from the D.I.T.C MC’s. Lord Finesse loops dense organ chords for his Thick remix; with Big L flowing at his belligerent best over a percussive use of clean snare hits, finding Finesse still at the top of his instrumental game. The first of two Best Behaviour flips from Showbiz utilizes an old school guitar lick thick with wah-wah fuzz; before DJ Premier’s chilled Diggin In The Crates re-make provides an album highlight; his trademark melodic chops hitting hard but remaining musical like PLAYTAWIN on The Ownerz.

Buckwild loops some epic brass stabs for Casualties Of A Dice Game‘s mid-paced bounce, slowing the speed to lead into 9th Wonder’s ice-cool sounds on Time To Get The Money. Diamond D programmes some crisp drum hits on Internationally Known , his claps echoing the snare shots as they cracking under a cloak-and-dagger guitar line that exudes cinematic espionage. NY-based beatsmith Marco Polo gets dramatic on Way Of Life, as his MPC slams out a phat horn loop that lumbers through the tune; while KRS-One’s flawless flow floods Buckwild’s Drop It Heavy remix, and Big Pun’s winding phrases envelop the track as it draws to a close.

O.Gee stacks neck-snapping breaks over theatrical classical samples on Foundation, making for one of the album’s more experimental instrumentals; leaving Showbiz’s second shot at Best Behaviour to end this masterful mix of raw Hip Hop on a cold, clear tone that packs a menacing chill. Before I even started typing or you pressed play we both knew this was guna be ill; producers and MC’s of this calibre need to collaborate more often on crew projects. It’d give heads the dream collabs they’ve been waiting on for years, and keep new rap listeners rooted in the music’s history, while hopefully gaining these pioneering acts a few new fans in the process.

You can get The Remix Project right now for no money down, over at the D.I.T.C website.

5/5

Peace.