It has been a long while since the last edition of Sounds From The Astral Plane, but with tunes piling up in the inbox, it feels like the right time to bring it back. Although we only started this whole blog deal in January, I feel it’s safe to say that 2012 has been one of the most exciting music years in recent memory. We attempt to cover all of the music we love, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. We’re human after all. Every week (or so), you’ll find the originals, remixes and DJ mixes that we missed. This will also be a space to see how y’all respond to new artists so don’t hesitate to send over your/your friend’s latest and greatest. At this point, the scope of Sounds From The Astral Plane is wide open so you’ll find anything and everything in this space. This week, we have everything from Formes’ incandescent take on psych rock to Dubbel Dutch’s dancehall stylings. As always, any and all feedback would be much appreciated! Hit the jump for the full list…
So apparently that Danny Brown + Blu + Mainframe project that we introduced a few weeks ago is actually from 2010 and the album, titled It’s A Art, has been floating around the internet for a few years. Regardless, it’s new to me so I will present it as such. Blu and Mainframe take on production duties and the many faces (and flows) of Danny Brown take on MC duties. The album really shows Brown trying out a number of flows, from the highly reserved “Change” to the sing-rap of “Can’t Find My Mind”. Brown doesn’t sound nearly as fucked up on the album, which results in a less intriguing result, both in his demeanor and subject matter. His current deranged, hyperbolic state just results in better music. Just one man’s opinion. Download the album right here.
Earlier I wrote that “Blu has taken on so many side projects and dropped countless unannounced albums that there isn’t really much he can do at this point to surprise his fans.” Well in the same day that the Danny Johnson project was announced, “Lemonade” appeared on German label Jakarta Records’ Bandcamp. A tribute to the late Guru, “Lemonade’ features Blu in peak form on the mic, Beat Make Jake behind the boards and some Exile scratches for good measure. The track is a pure throwback and Jake comes proper with the Premier referencing beatwork. What will Blu come up with next? We will never know. Stream and download below.
Blu + Mainframe = Johnson & Jonson, Johnson & Jonson + Danny Brown = Danny Johnson. Got it? Good. Blu has taken on so many side projects and dropped countless unannounced albums that there isn’t really much he can do at this point to surprise his fans. Danny Brown also has a penchant for random release dates although no one in contemporary hip hop can really match the scattershot thought process of Johnson Barnes. Danny Johnson will involve Blu and Mainframe handling production with Danny on the mic. “Change” sees Brown completely out of his element, spitting in a restrained flow over the relaxed production. Is it just me or does his voice sound a little like Young Buck’s when he’s not yelling? Probably just me. Anyways, a full Danny Johnson LP is coming soon on New World Color. Stream “Change” below.
There’s really no sense in attempting to understand Blu at this point. After releasing his Madlib collaboration album, UCLA, he succinctly pulled it from his Bandcamp. Furthermore, like so many other Blu releases, the album was entirely unmastered and bordered on unlistenable at times. With all the talent in the world, one would expect Blu to invest in a little mixing here and there. Yesterday, he uploaded a new project to his Bandcamp (luckily still up there), this time a remix tape of 2010’s NoYork!. The nine-track release features Knxwledge, Hezekiah, Von Pea and more. It is, unsurprisingly, incredibly low quality, but it’s too nice to ignore. Von Pea’s remix of “My Sunshine” is outstanding. Unfortunately, Blu is asking for nine dollars for the tape, but I’m sure you can work a little bit of internet magic and unearth it.
We’ve been fairly absent from the blog this week, because of various nature excursions and other computer time limitations. Luckily, we’re back now and ready to continue bringing you the phonk. Amid a hectic SXSW filled week, a large amount of new music was actually released, much of it from the hip hop world. As a result, we bring you this special edition Sounds From The Astral Plane as a summary of the week’s happenings.
Stream: Nas – “The Don” (Prod. Salaam Remi, Da Internz and Heavy D)
Nas never ceases to amaze me with his tenacity on the mix. Dude has been in the game for over 20 years, and while there will never be another Illmatic, Nasir will go down as one of, if not the greatest, rappers of all time. Following last year’s “Nasty,” a sickening tear over minimalist percussion, Nas brings us “The Don,” produced by Salaam Remi with a helping hand from Da Internz and the late Heavy D. I can imagine Nas turning on the radio, hearing “Work Out” for the millionth time, calling up Salaam and hitting the studio. This shit is gully.
Stream/Download: Sene – “Backboards” feat. Blu
Sene is one of those MC’s who everyone has heard of, but no one really thinks twice about. He’s worked extensively with Blu, but none if it has made waves like the latter’s collaborations with Exile, Fashawn and Mainframe. It might be time to give Sene a little respect. “Backboards,” conveniently featuring Blu, is downright beautiful, eliciting comparisons to The Visionaries. Also, Blu on a mastered track? Pretty unheard of over the past couple years. “Backboards” is off of Sene’s upcoming Brooklyknight album, dropping April 24 on Plug Research.
Download: Danny Brown – “Baseline”
There isn’t much to say about Danny Brown that hasn’t been said. Read this Passion of the Weiss post for details. “Baseline” is as minimalist as Brown gets, allowing the MC to get ugly with the rhymes. If glorified drug usage, misogyny, and one of the most unique flows in contemporary hip hop interests you, then download “Baseline” above.
Stream/Download: Tokimonsta – “Fame Boozer’s Lullaby” feat. Rucyl
Squeaky production from Toki and majestic vocals from Rucyl = chilled out bliss. Hopefully this is a sign that the wait for a followup to 2010’s Midnight Menu will soon be over.
Chicago DJ/producer Brenmar has publicly stated that one of his main goals is to get “people to hook up at the club.” This track will certainly do that. Brenmar ramps up the sex appeal for his take on Texas crooner Kirko Bangz’s “Drank In My Cup,” turning the syruppy original into a dance floor anthem. This is club music at its best.
Stream/Download: Pale – “Worst Job Of Good Luck”
“Worst Job Of Good luck” is off of London label Bullet Train Records’ Bullet Train Allstars compilation. It’s the best track off the comp and features incredibly clean production from Pale mixed with some pitched down vocals. Nice minimalist cut right hurr.
Stream/Download: Dam-Funk – “Serious”
There is never a shortage of new material on Dam Funk’s Soundcloud page. It fells like every week or two, he throws a superb new cut on their as a free download. Dam plays all the instruments on “Serious,” a jazzy track with that trademark Dam Funk sound. It’s no surprise that Dam can meld his sound into a jazz aesthetic, but it is still damn impressive.
Stream: Nocando – “Miyamoto Musashi” (Produced by DNAEBeats)
Low End Theory is in Japan right now. Nocando released a song about legendart samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Sounds about right.
Download: Action Bronson – Blue Chips (Mixtape)
Action Bronson supplies the raps. Party Supplies supplies the beats. It’s fantastic. Oddly enough, the first track, “Pouches of Tuna” uses the same beat as the Sene’s track above. Not sure if Party Supplies made it, or what, but I have to say that the Sene version is better. Beyond that confusion, “Thug Love Story 2012” sounds like classic Ghostface-ish. That comparison is getting a little old at this point, but it’s just too hard to ignore on tracks like this. Download Blue Chips from DJ Booth above.
Watch: Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death – “Rammin”
More visuals from Lord of the Fly, this time for the grimy “Rammin.” If you can get over the overdone effects, this is a pretty enjoyable vid. This is what The Weeknd sees when he hits the club. Some real XO shit.
Thought I would throw this track up today, The Clean Hand produced by Pete Rock. Blu is an infamous west coast underground rapper and producer who has been getting a lot of attention for, most notably, Below The heavens with Exile. The rapper has released a vast amount of other material and all of it is good, warning he is lazy and releases unmastered material. It’s a treat to hear Blu over a Pete Rock beat. Happy saturday!
Check out this cypher with Blu, and Oddisee killing it along with Das Racist, Homeboy Sandman, and Final Outlaw.
*Jesus does not appear in this video, but images of the lord are everywhere. Seek and ye shall find and by way, Blu is not Jesus and neither are you, Thank You*
That’s the message scrawled across the screen at the beginning of the video for his Madlib produced single, “Jesus.” Provocative to say the least. The technicolor visuals go hand in hand with the warm vibe of the track, while the imagery is a mixture of religious monuments and LA gangbanging scenes. A drive-by shooting, prostitutes and parties are interspersed with various churches and beautiful Southern California boulevards. If you’re not interested in reading too deep into what Blu and director aaronisnotcool are attempting to say through the clips, just enjoy the revitalization of one last summer’s best collaborations as the weather warms up.
Whatsgood! Every Friday from 7-8 I have my own live radio show streaming on http://kwcwradio.tumblr.com/ right now I’m bumping Madlib’s shades of blue album with some knxwledge, MF Doom, Gang Starr, and Blu to come.