Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blockhead - 2004 - Music by Cavelight



There’s been a tendency in instrumental hip hop towards the epic, the bombastic and the plain tacky, which is why Blockhead is so refreshing. On “Music By Cavelight” the downtown New Yorker with production credits for the likes of Aesop Rock and Slug of Atmosphere, comes through with some of the most sublime, understated, melancholic hip hop you’re likely to hear.

From the anti-fanfare of opener “Insomniac Olympics”, through the elegaic strings and slomo disco-bass of “Carnivores Unite” on into the two-minutes-to-midnight atmospherics of “You’ve Got Maelstrom”, the spread out reggaephonics of “A Better Place”, and right on up to the flute and eastern violin anomie of “Music By Cavelight,” this is a record that establishes its own emotional space and holds it from start to finish.

Which is not to say that Blockhead doesn’t have a formidable technique or a vivid imagination to complement the emotion of his music. Check how he structures pieces like “Breathe And Start” or the way he speeds up a vocal a la Wu Tang and then slows it down too to create a series of choral effects throughout his “Triptych”. And listen to his beats – crisp, hard and rock steady. The way hip hop’s supposed to be.

And that’s it, really – Blockhead is an unassuming guy so there’s no point shouting. His music will speak for itself… -Ninjatune