Posts Tagged ‘beats


Paul Basic “The Mirror”

Producer Paul Basic released his debut EP “The Mirror” on Tuesday off the budding Pretty Lights Music label. Hailing from Colorado, one of today’s popular electronic music scenes (where PLM is headquartered), Basic’s first effort focuses on high energy electro hip-hop instrumentals sprinkled with manipulated samples. Packed with dynamic beats, gritty bass lines, sequenced synths and arpeggios, this 8 song, 27-minute album will keep your head bobbing and foot tapping. The first sample I recognized was in “Daydream.” Basic takes the chorus and violins (title too) from Belgian band Wallace Collection, a track also sampled by Lupe Fiasco. While this tune isn’t necessary dub-step by definition, it utilizes the standard wobbly, metallic bass lines frequented in the genre today.

The song “Cops” seems like an electronic take on Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” Hearing the familiar atmospheric pads, strummed guitar chords and harmonizing synth parts highlighted the feeling of drifting away to a faraway place, fueled by heavy bass and hip-hop rhythms.

One of my favorite tracks, “Jaded,” cohesively meshes high and lo-end layers with a nice touch of filter and added build ups. It’s an up-tempo tune suitable for a party or night time driving. Another strong composition from the EP is “Daylit”, showcasing Basic’s classic influences. This bright, mellow track is riddled with piano and guitar snippets sampled over a crunchy synthesizer and simple hip-hop beat.

Overall Basic’s drumming roots, production skills and early rock influences shine through on “The Mirror.” Although it’s an EP, it flows seamlessly like a mix-tape and is free for download off the Pretty Lights Music Label’s website. In addition to Basic’s debut, other talented up and coming producers such as Paper Diamond (Alex B, former bassist of Pnuma Trio) and Break Science (drummer Adam Deitch’s new project) are available for free as well. The PLM label was created by Derek Smith, the mastermind behind national touring sensation Pretty Lights, a festival favorite who gained popularity by giving music lovers his material for free. He continues to follow this free promotion model that worked for him in order to expose the newly signed artists of Pretty Lights Music. Keep on eye out for these guys as they embark on a PLM showcase tour this fall.

Rating: 3/5


Thievery Corporation – Culture of Fear: Free Stream

Thievery Corporation has been around for a while and they have a strong underground following; their beats are infectious and clever; it was not until recently that I actually learned about them and felt it was worth sharing with HiFi readers.  

Theivery Corporations music historically has been a culmination of electronica and root beats that offer a variety of auditory twists and turns that provides a very pleasing listening experience; rarely have vocals been introduced that have overshadowed the beats, but this new album offers something different with vocals being much more in the mix.  This new album named Culture of Fear offers an excellent assortment of crisp, clean, and sharp rhythms that break away from the mundane dated instrumental albums of the past;  it has the feel of an album that has a timeless sound that can be well kept in a collection for years to come. If you are familiar with the Beastie Boys instrumental album “The Insound from Way Out” this is an excellent addition and complimentary type album, again, this album provides a excellent addition to an existing collection of  instrumental beat albums.

The founders of Thievery Corporation were interviewed on NPR this past weekend.  Both founding artists  were surprisingly very down to Earth about their success; they were not arrogant, nor self-depricating on how their music has evolved and how they’ve gained success as a lesser known musical act.  The interview mainly focused around what past musicians have influenced them and who they decided to collaborate with on this recent album; especially since it strays from the norm of prior releases.  I’ve been on a bend lately with instrumental beat albums such as those offered by Thievery Corporation, Hooverphonic, Portishead and another group who uses Middle Eastern & South Asian cultural rhythms with modern beats called Balkan Beat Box.   Instrumental beat albums offer a fun exploration and variety of creative groove rhythms, beats, effects, and sounds while keeping a constant tempo.  These albums offer excellent background music at a party, when cooking, or just relaxing around the house.  

Unfortunately the free stream was for a limited time and is no longer available as of 9/8/11

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