Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves

I just had to stick this on cos I got it late today and have been listening to it non-stop. It’s fucking brilliant. As good as the Roots and BEP albums are, this one’s my fave so far in ’99.

The liner notes say it’s been three years since ‘Psychoanalysis’ which I can’t believe. That album is one of the maddest, most fucked-up hip hop albums ever. It proved PP to be both immensely creative and wildly nutty. A genius.

This one’s a progression, perhaps a bit straighter but no less inventive. The loops he picks are this disorienting mix of the familiar with the…crazy. If only half the current pop hip hop producers had this much breadth of musical knowledge. The vibe is a lot scarier than ‘Psychoanalysis’ and harder. I just hope he does some film scores soon cos it’d be mega.

In fact, he may have already cos the whole album has a blaxpoitation flick feel from the cover art through all the interludes. And when you catch yourself thinking ‘hmmm…that bit sounds De La or Gravediggaz or whatever’ you have to remind yourself it’s cos PP produced those albums as well. Those are his sounds and riffs he’s bringing home. Silky Sicilian strings, Les Dawson Wu piano loops, huge nad-crushing beats. The sub bass is sub baaasss.

He’s got a lot of help on there. There’s the incomparable Chubb Rock who delivers his track ‘Mr. Large’ just completely fucking beautifully. Amongst all the chubbsters (Fat Joe, Eightball, Big Pun), this proves Chubb still reigns supreme. Him and Biz Markie come and go in one minute, which is way too short. Plugs 1, 2 and 3 turn up on ‘More Than U Know’ which makes me realise how much I’d missed Trugoy, Posdunous and the original Mase… They make it sound so easy – just rolling along, with a sly tip of the hat to the Sugarhill mob. Other luminaries include Kool Keith, Sadat X, Xzibit, Everlast in rock mode and even Chris Rock (not in Everlast mode).

Really, I could wank on about this album till Usenet crumbles under the weight of my purple prose. Just go and buy it. There’s gotta be something on here that you love, even if you don’t like all the other PP-produced stuff. The music has epic depth coupled with forceful simplicity. It does everything – this album gets your head nodding more than Flat Eric on a Brian Harvey-sized dose of E.
love and kisses,
Jyoti

The Roots – Things Fall Apart

This is a much bleaker sounding album than their last. The first track ‘Act Won’ is sort of ‘Mo Better Blues’ set to music crossed with the message of Consolidated’s ‘Play More Music’. Overall, the feel is sort of a cross between the Pharcyde’s ‘Labacabincalifornia’ and the JBs ‘Wit The Remedy.’ It’s the complete antithesis of all the pop hip hop about (which isn’t necessarily a compliment). The rapping’s very jazz, broken in weird ways over lines and unafraid of taking risks. ‘Step Into the Relm’ is probably the most contemporary sounding, being a cousin of Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ with a Wu harp line. There’s a lot of old skool name-dropping and even a bit of classic ‘szh szh szhing’ Bambaataa style 🙂 Buy this album if you like the Pharcyde, Digable Planets, Gang Starr, Native Tongues or Hieroglyphics. Avoid it if you’re looking for ‘my jimmy weighs a ton’ type stuff.

Fourtet – Dialogue

Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/05
Forum: uk.music.alternative

Bought this just off ukma recommendation. 12 track album that most reminds me of the Notwist, though can’t quite say why. It’s a lot more jazz than the Notwist and far less glum but there’s something…. It also reminded me of the Slicker album in its broadness of sound, although it’s nothing like as cut-and-paste. Track two, ‘Chiron’ sort of sounds a bit Spacemen 3 but with crazy sax. I’d guess this is a near perfect album to listen to while fucked on drugs but being a straight(ish) edge kinda guy, other ukma types will have to comment. The instrumentation is varied and well-arranged. There’s no one category this album fits in apart from weird. And good. Buy it if you like the Orb, Astralasia, Fila Brazilia or King Crimson. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for the new Ramones.

Cylob – Previously Unavailable On Compact Disc

(Rephlex)
Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/05
Forum: uk.music.alternative

Another comp, this one a bit more recent. Starts off with the quite stunningly beautiful Flicklife which reminds me of John Carpenter’s film stuff. All of the stuff on here has been out before but it’s good to have it all rubbing shoulders. I guess that also contributes to the variety (there’s also mixes by uZiq, Aphex and Autechre). Moody, sad elegaic, silly Paradinas noises, electro – it’s all here. There’s even a track (Flad) which sounds like prime Test Department till the bzangy noises come in. Mmmmm… metal bashing…. Lovely! Also check out the Rewind 12″ as plugged by Ant Chapman. He was right – it’s humongous. Buy this album if you haven’t got most of the originals and wish to follow the way of the groink. Don’t buy it if you hate “bleepy bedroom shite.”

Aerial M – Post Global Music

(Domino)

Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/05
Forum: uk.music.alternative

This is a remix thingy with versions by Flacco, Tied & Tickled Trio, DJ Your Food and Bundy K Brown. The Flacco mix is quite guitarry but with a CP-30 burbling its hi hats over the top. Again, the whole effect is a bit Notwisty cos it’s the same kind of Devoish chords. The last mix, by Bundy, is severely floaty and ambient at the start, all wispy guitar apreggios and soft maracas. But then the chocolate thunder strikes and it goes notch filter drum loopy…loopy. Buy this CD if you like Spiritualized, Notwist or Cell. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for classic two minute pop songs.

Vaselines – The Way Of The Vaselines, A Complete History

(Sub Pop)

Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/05
Forum: uk.music.alternative

I just had to get this when I saw it on CD, I know it’s old stuff but so what? It’s a great comp, with a foreword by Eugene himself. Classic pop songs like Monsterpussy, Rory Rides Me Raw, Dying For It and of course the originals of Molly’s Lips and Son Of A Gun, as covered by some band from Seattle. Listening to this (along with Singles Going Steady) makes me realise what’s missing from most contemporary guitar pop/rock. Feeling, meaning, a sense of humour and grace. I better stop now before someone mentions Bogshed again. Buy this album if you’ve ever pogoed in your bedroom. Don’t buy it if you don’t like songs about rudies and pubies.

Black Eyed Peas – Behind The Front

(Interscope)

Author: Jyoti Mishra
Date: 1999/03/05
Forum: uk.music.alternative

This has got slagged a lot by the rock press (what a surprise) but I love it. It’s very, very poppy, nearly every track is a stunna and they do the ‘live band playing hip hop’ thing excellently. In fact, I prefer it to the Roots cos it draws me in more. The lyrics are also top, very positive and conscious (a bit of an antidote to the Eminem album) and the flow’s cool and smooooov. In sound terms, it’s again like the Native Tongues stuff, with a dash of the Hiero madness.

The production is deliberately trying to place them apart from the retro g-funk wave that seems to be going on. It’s also one of the few current hip hop albums that doesn’t have the Timbaland ghost hovering over it. Some tracks near the end of the album veer into Fishbone territory and even Rollins Band but funkier. Buy it if you love De La Soul, TCQ, Masta Ace or BDP. Avoid it if you’re looking for something nastier.