REVIEW: HLI’s “Omniglyph (EP + Remixes)”

HLI photo HLI_cover_zps022b930d.jpg There is no shortage of adventurous hip-hop out there, but one man’s adventure may be another man’s “what the hell is this shit?” Fortunately, this is not shit, but rather a UK duo (Sensei C and Elai Immortal) named HLI who create hip-hop in their own way and get a chance to show it off on their new release, Omniglyph.

Omniglyph is a brand new EP that also features remixes of songs from it. For anyone who would like to hear the good side of futuristic hip-hop, you’ll want to listen songs like “Opus Day” (which brings in Juice Aleem & Justice Hotep), “Slay Humbaba” (featuring Bless de LosAngeles), and “Don’t Panic”. A remix of “Opus Day” also has Mike Ladd and Infesticon XX’s making their presence known, and there’s not one track on here that slows down in power.

In truth, futuristic hip-hop is very much a response to today’s hip-hop and a need to break out its self-made barriers in order to be heard and be free. Omniglyph is the sound of freedom, and what a sound to be caught in.

VIDEO: Thavius Beck’s “Joy”

What did the end of the world look like? Well my friend, it looked like this video by Thavius Beck called “Joy”, and the imagery you see is nothing but joyful, but triumphant? I would say so. The apocalypse never looked so welcoming. The song is from Beck’s album The Most Beautiful Ugly (Plug Research).

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Thavius Beck’s “Imma Get So”

Thavius Beck doesn’t like to stay in one place for any length of time, so for this track he gets into a mode that is a bit like incidental music for movies, but does show in a soul/funk fashion, sans vocals. One might be motivated to sing or rap over it, but I tend to like this track as is. It will be released on September 11th as part of his new album called The Most Beautiful Ugly (Plug Research), released in digital, vinyl, and CD forms.

SOME STUFFS: Thavius Beck creates a new mix tape, offers it for free

It’s a bit of the old, newly released. Thavius Beck has allowed Plug Research access to his past, and in preparation for his forthcoming album, they’ve created a new mix tape called Symphony of Spheres, and for a limited time you can have it for free.

This means you can download it for free, or you can simply listen. All you have to do to download it is fill in your e-mail address, and boom, a link will be forwarded to you. You can here for that.

REVIEW: Thavius Beck’s “Amber Embers Volume 2 & 3”

I’ve been a fan of Thavius Beck‘s music for awhile, and for the last few weeks have been enjoying and absorbing volume 2 and 3 of his series of EP’s on Mush Records. I’m about to do a review, so I search for the cover artwork and discover that the band has a brand new EP on another label. How come I didn’t hear about this?

Thus, I’m here about to review Amber Embers Volume 2 and Volume 3, which continues to explore and expand the mindstate of what Beck has been doing in the last few years. If you’ve entered his work of the past, this takes a few hints of what was and pushes things beyond to the next universe or two. “MPCless” is the closest to what Beck did before, and yet it feels good because it’s familiar, it’s funky, and you can’t help but cheer. Yet the other tracks on these EP’s show someone who is really to either try out the next shit, or he’s preparing you for what he has been interested in all along.

VIDEO: Kaigen’s “Spear & Shield”

I’m loving this. This is Kaigen, who had Thavius Beck do a track for him. The end result is “Spear & Shield”, which is incredible. If Kaigen sounds (or looks) familiar to you, you may remember him from his work with Curse Ov Dialect. Kaigen has been popping up in a number of places this year, you may have heard his collaboration with Sole.

Kaigen is hard at work on his new album, due out sometime in 2011.

REVIEW: Thavius Beck’s “Dialogue”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic L.L. Cool J once said in “Going Back To Cali” a line that said “pop in a cassette and push play.” Ever since then, it seems in order for rappers to drive down the popular route, they have done just that: create music that sounds like it was done without effort for the sake of maximum profits. Whether or not they made maximum profits is not of my concern, but what I still like to hear on a hip-hop album that sounds like there was an effort to create… anything. Thavius Beck has gained a reputation for his work as an electronic music producer, although one can say the same thing about many of today’s hip-hop producers. Whether or not calling him an “electronic music producer” gives him a bit more legitimacy (opposed to being called nothing more than a guy who pushes buttons) is unknown, but get rid of any pre-conceived notions.

If you bought K-The-I???‘s most recent album, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow (which I reviewed in The Run-Off Groove #221), then you will know what Beck is all about. He handles the ol’ boom bap perfectly, but what makes him who he is is not just the way he is able to chop and filter drum beats, but also the carefully-selected samples that he uses for atmospherics. Basslines boom in the deepest way, Hammond B-3’s running through Leslie speakers blare and deafen, it’s mindblowing.

When you have a producer that makes music fearlessly, and an MC who shares those same ethics, it becomes a statement. When you happen to fill both positions, in that you’re the MC knowing the music from the inside out, or the producer who knows how to excite your producer in the best ways possible, there’s a self-contained chemistry that fits perfectly when done right. You’re hearing brain matter at work, it’s an album you have to listen deeply in order to get the full gist of what’s going on. Even if you know of Beck’s work as Adlib, that’s just one click of the Cube. Dialogue (Big Dada/Mush) is an album that defines… well, maybe that’s not a right way to put it, so let me try again. Dialogue is communication defined, between MC and producer, between artist and fan, between hip-hop and the world, between brain matter and electronics, between human and binary code, it’s the lost language amplified to great levels. No, that’s not right either.

Maybe it would be best to just say “those who wondered why hip-hop has not been as innovative as it once was can look to Thavius Beck as not so much a pioneer, but an explorer of the potential untapped.” I like that, let’s call this review a “wrap”.

(Dialogue has already been released in the UK through Big Dada, and can be bought digitally in the U.S. through Mush Records, who will give it a formal (i.e. CD) release on January 26, 2010.)