The muffled shuffle of Adian Coker’s “Been There” begins with a minimal line of percussion, soon eased into a more wholesome groove of metronomic hip-hop. This sampling of the South London rapper’s impressive talents features on his latest EP, Time Out of Mind, which has already gained some traction in his native UK. Having explored a gamut of pop-music styles, Coker’s hip-hop rests comfortably in a secured space of influences pooling from both sides of the Atlantic. There is indeed a good chunk of East Coast hip-hop in his work that is essentially the tether of which the grime, dubstep and electro-funk elements are attached.
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An amusingly cryptic narrative of Dadaist assemblage, Turkey’s hip-hop supergroup, 90BPM, presents the video clip for their second single from their premiere album, Kötülük Bizim Işimiz, a collection of alternative hip-hop that explores everything from Turkish funk to Prince Paul-styled turntablism.
Stripping away the exotic rhythms of her original version, Valery Gore’s latest remix, a very minimal electronic reworking of “July”, presents the song from a clipped, impersonal distance. In place of what had once been a relentless flush of Latin percussion are long stretches of gentle, airy sonics. Not especially a surprising turn since much of the number’s parent album, Idols in the Dark Heart, explored similar terrains of moody electronic-pop. If you want to get a sense of how radical the reinterpretation is, then you can refer to Gore’s original, presented here live at the Piston in Toronto; the shudders of polyrhythmic drumming and curls of brass are the flesh and bones of the original number to the remix’s ghost.
The best part about “Go Out”, the lead single from Blur’s first full-length album in 12 years, is that a lot of people probably won’t like it.
Its side-stepping bassline and timid backbeat set the stage, but “Go Out” is, like all great Blur tracks, all about Damon Albarn’s stretched-out vocal phrasings interacting with Graham Coxon’s lyrical, expressive guitar work. The two collide and build upon each other to reach a climax that isn’t really that much of a climax, typical of the band’s mid- and late-period phases. Albarn finds an obtuse way to speak about isolation, dancing with himself, and then going out to the local (and sometimes, the lo-o-o-cal) on his ownsome, all while Coxon unleashes all the distortion he can out of his cheap pedal before trying to wrestle all of it to the ground in spectacular fashion, our ears caught up more in the struggle than the result. When you get down to it, this is a weird-ass little ditty, and therein lies its charm.
“Using reggae as a springboard, Italian rapper TerronRissa takes a fairly liberal and free-form approach within the constructs of his hip-hop. Aimed squarely at house parties across Italy’s suburbs, TerronRissa dispense his rhymes with humor and easygoing charm. The beats skip and throb with the kind of abandon usually reserved for pop music. Having just released his first proper album of material, L’Era Dei Distratti, the rapper has attracted quite a following in its native Italy.
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