Straight out of Crooklyn NY, the Black Hoodz label debuted with "The Doctor"/"Above And Beyond" from Dr. Israel. Brand new from the crew is the Dime Bags 10" series, slowing the pace, but still knocking headz. Spectre (The Ill Saint) teams up with ex JB Torture (better known as Sensational) for the eerie "Other Side" EP, while Sebastian Laws (former New Kingdom rapper) and Scotty Hard drag us into their underworld on the grinding "Truckstop" 4tracker. Something for your earhole. Pee Gonzalez reworks some of his older material on "Whuz The P?". Lazy instrumentals meet bits of non-English wordage. When it's on, it's great. Unfortunately, at 16 tracks and over an hour of music, the chaff overshadows the wheat. California's Stones Throw unveils long awaited LPs from Rasco and Peanutbutter Wolf.
If you like your beats big, grab Beatseed's "Moonboots" 12" on Thrive or "Billy Club" from Junkie XL. From the American Roadrunner (on Attic in Canada), the latter features a remix from the Toxik Twins (DJs Hardware & Remix) and vocals from Urban Dance Squad's Silver Surfering (sic) Rudeboy. These Junkies will soon have a full LP on the racks.
The latest from the British Cup Of Tea label, through Iron Music in Canada and Iron America Stateside, is the "Headspinz" album from The Federation (a project of Roni Size/Reprazent bassist Si John) and Purple Penguin's "De-Tuned". Purchase now, play later.
Italy's Guido Zen follows up his "23 Giugno" EP with the "Healthy Fuel Navigation" full length on the UK's PiknMix. Remixes from The Kaleidoscope are in the works.
Pimp Daddy Nash sees his fabulous "Year Of The Pimp" EP (US Eighth Dimension) pressed with a Dynagroove mix as a taster for his forthcoming long player. Nash does the drum ‘n' bass thing to Perfume Tree's "Too Late, Too Early" (from their "Feeler" album on World Domination). You'll find his mix and other remixes from the likes of DJ Wally, Q-Burn's Abstract Message and T.R. from Sky Cries Mary on a versions album the Tree share with Loop Guru. Keep an eye out for the new LP from DJ BMF as well.
"Breath From Another" is the title track to the album from Toronto's Esthero. The original is simply sublime--jazzy downtempo gets busy with drum ‘n' bass flourishes while Esthero sings her sweet song, twists the syllables Digible style, and Shug lays in with his gruffer verbs. Remixes come from Talvin Singh and DJ Krust for a variety of flavors. Step back ‘98, you have been warned, Esthero is going to be huge.
Saving the best for last (almost), merry pranksters Marc (T-Power) Royal and Chris Stevens hide behind their Chocolate Weasel guise for some "Spaghettification". This is funkin' fun at its finest. Dropping the hyper beats, this duo craft floor filling slinkers that will sit well at home or on the floor for the sneakers crowd. Plenty of choice samples, beats, a few rhymes, and it comes together like a nuclear reaction. And don't let the mighty Coldcut get left behind. Load up the "Timber" remixes by Kirk DiGiorgio's As One, Journeyman, Bundy K Brown, and a host of others for total craziness that all but obliterates the source. No problem, though. Work it.
Leave it to Akin Hernandez and his Irdial label to come up with the super exploratory goods. Head honcho Hernandez takes white noise to the extreme as Beautyon on "The Ultimate Mediterranean Savage". 20 tracks of power electronics without all the power. Still, this is uneasy listening, completely generated within a computer. Adore Whitehouse and their ilk? You'll appreciate the digital domain here. Anthony Manning soothes in comparison on his "Concision" album for the same imprint. Short piano solos are juxtaposed against more electronic pieces for a Wendy Carlos Williams meets Morton Subotnick vibe for ‘98. Beautiful in its bareness. Speaking of influences, think John Hassell and you'll be in the mood for the soundscapes of Rhys Chatham's "Septile" EP, 4 live soundscapes recorded in August 1997. Choose strife.
Cognition Electronics Top 10
1. Chocolate Weasel--"Spaghettification" 2 X LP (UK/CAN Ninja Tune)