These days anybody with a PC and a browser can download some software and be instantly endowed with the potential for a hit electronic music record, but just as with the more analog set, the single most important factor remains talent. It doesn’t matter how powerful the tools; electronic musicians still need the knowledge to play the right chords, sample where it sounds good, and arrange so the music works. Thavius Beck, otherwise known as rapper and producer Adlib, is a certified trainer for Ableton Live, the very tool that many of these musicians use. It stands to reason that he would be adept at wielding it. On The Most Beautiful Ugly he shows a professional restraint, however. Free from over-use of effects and without resorting to trendy bass warping, this album is 15 original tracks of straight-ahead hip-hop and R&B influenced electronica with a moody twist. At its least it is melancholic, and at its best beautiful or menacing. There are no guest spots on this record, no hokey cross-genre collaborations, just pure, well-crafted electronic groove music that is well worth your time. The highlight for me was “In Your Eyes”. Though Adlib has crossed my path before without really hooking me, I can only hope we hear more from the projects of Thavius Beck.
- Album stream Rhapsody