February Roundup

This month’s wrap-up features two hip-hop releases and two IDM ones. All four fit firmly within their genres, but only one of each succeeds.

DJ Cutler: Scion CD Sampler V.16

Scion CD Sampler V.16 cover

Scion, 2007 CD

While I find the idea of a car company publishing hip-hop truly bizarre, this mix CD is actually quite good. DJ Cutler from Buffalo, NY has a style similar to the radio mix shows I grew up listening to in nearby Rochester. He cuts and scratches together a selection of deep and funky underground tracks by Pseudo Slang, Third, El Da Sensei, and Tanya Morgan, among others. Great music for cruising. (4/5)

Bukue One: Intromission

Alpha Pup, 2007 digital-only

Bukue is a Bay Area skateboarder and graffiti artist. For his first rap album (out next week), he teams up with a number of German producers. It sounds like an interesting concept, but the results are all over the map. The title track has a pop hook. “Bring It Back” asks, “Do you remember back when hip-hop was fun?” over an odd beat. On “Majah Knock” Bukue’s flows messily over digital bass. Don’t even ask about his misguided attempts at dancehall. Disappointing. (1/5)

8yone: Keymotion

Keymotion cover

Boltfish, 2007 3-inch CD

Limited to a mere 50 copies, but thankfully available digitally on Beatport, this EP proves Boltfish is on an IDM roll. 8yone offers four tracks of understated, classic electronics. I could tell I was in for a treat when the beat kicked in on Glück. “Glacial Sunburn” is a simple analogue synth tune. “Mrrey Chsirtmas” [sic] is bouncy and percussive. Finally, “My cold sucks!” breaks things down with glitchy feedback while delicate bells flit over top. (4/5)

Arc Lab: No Spectre

n5md, 2007 CD

This album starts warm and melodic, then gradually grows colder. “I’m All Vectors” demonstrates careful attention to detail, but “Versions” is somewhat nondescript. “The Several Song” and “The Past!” rely on indie-rock-type vocals. There are lots of faux-vinyl pops on these tracks, but they’re more annoying than atmospheric. Maybe he’s trying just a little too hard. (2/5)