Lewis Parker : Our Man In Havana


I slept on this one; UK heavyweights SFDB Records, Lewis Parker and L Dolo dropped two killer new tracks a few months back that came enveloped in the dramatic overtones Parker popularised; and unsurprisingly, the man with the golden sound pens nothin’ but heat on both tracks. Gritty drums slap over epic brass stabs on Hard Impact as the rhymes narrate more shadowy spy stories from the world of dusty vinyl; and LP’s lyrical B Boy Antiks bless an atmospheric funk flip on Run To The Sun, making this short release a must-have for fans of the crunchy SP sound.

Get it here.


Bambu Hands : Traditional Process/Authentic Product


After putting in work on his warmly received Lost Soul project, and collaborating with Spider Jaroo on Live From The Archive Vol 1, consumate crate digger Bambu Hands found himself with broken samplers, and a studio in need of refurbishment. To remedy that he collated over ninety of his unused instrumentals and split them into two albums, simultaneously showcasing his beats for MC’s to lease, and dropping another phat batch for the beat-heads.

Traditional Process exhibits his lighter side, while Authentic Product finds him delving into the darkness to bring about balance on this cathartic release; lacing track after track with jazzy samples and heavy breaks straight out the ASR10, SP1200 and MPC2000XL. Each beat can be bought directly from Hands on a first-come, first-served basis; so if you’re an up-and-coming rhymer looking for rugged boom bap, Bambu Hands has got what you need.

Check out the beats and get his contact info here.

Melanin 9 : Amulets 12″


You can look, but it won’t be a simple task to find homegrown lyricism as skilful, intelligent or profound than when Melanin 9 is blessing a mic. His classic, must-have Magna Carta LP was lyrically superior, and lightyears ahead of it’s Roc-a-Fella derivative when it dropped last year; and after many months spent building with Triple Darkness, April sees M9 combine forces with London-based label Blunted Astronaut to drop an exclusive new solo single. Amulets is yet another lyrically deep, stylistically rich cut from the writer’s prolific pen. The efficacy of M9’s delivery lies in his ability to spark your innate desire to learn. By making specific reference to historical, spiritual and occult subjects through his expansive vocabulary; he treats the listener with an intellectual respect that few MC’s manage to pull off without sounding showy; I toured the globe as a ghost of my soul’s steps, drenched in cold sweats beneath a sub-zero cloud, emotions left buried in doubt, blowing nostalgic nouns from astronomical perceptions, forced to glance evil’s reflection as I dance in the tempest.‘ The Summit’s instrumental encompasses traditional beatmaking but adds enough modern elements to ensure their take on boom bap stays current; and as thick horns cradle DJ Ping’s chorus chops, the hook is sure to be one of the catchiest you’ll hear from the underground this year.

Cloudsteppa harks back to the MC’s mixtape days as he pens precise lines over DJ Drinks’ claustrophobic instrumental; flowing rapid yet coherent as he relays his unique perspective through a mastery with words; ‘Asphyxiate your chords like Galaktus, the Moorish blacksmith, with planets orbiting my chakras.’ Lewis Parker spits with his usual cool demeanour; dropping simile’s and old school film and tv references like most rappers drop F bombs; leaving Variation Music’s Vinyldigger to close the song with short stabs of static transformed by his crossfader. Parker’s Cloudsteppa Remix surpasses the original, winding down this dope release as his SP cranks out dusty drum loops and samples that simulate old detective films. Amulets undoubtedly deserves a place in your collection; and with plenty more to come from the Triple Darkness camp, and his 2007 début High Fidelity set for a vinyl-0nly re-release in May; 2014 is shaping up to be yet another pivotal year for this highly talented MC.

Buy the single on wax 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.