Thursday, 12 November 2009

Butter // Drift Review

This year has seen albums released from two of a new wave (W**ky??) of hip hop producers - Glaswegian Hudson Mohawke (Butter) and American Nosaj Thing (Drift).  Although sonically these two albums may not have a lot immediately in common - Drift is an alltogether more sombre affair, whereas Butter bursts with life and colour.  However these two albums represent the future of hip hop, both UK and US - coming at an exciting time in dance music - future garage, funkstep, they sum up everything that's exciting about music right now.

The first we heard of Butter was Rising 5, which was given out as a free download earlier this year.  The drums stutter and glimmer, and sound like something completely organic and alive - one could be forgiven for thinking that Rising 5 is a soul track from the 70s.  The snare rolls combine with the harp to create a living breathing masterpiece.

Hudson Mohawke - Rising 5 (Right click, save as)

The album as a whole has plenty of standout moments - it shows how much Mohawke's production has matured since the Polyfolk dance EP, in that it is more cohesive as a whole.  The album is full of audio snippets that glide, shimmer and chime.  The panpipe hysterics of FUSE, one of the only 140pbm songs on the album, are led by euphoric solos.  Another standout moment for me was Dam Funk vocalled track Allhot - a future Rnb hit, full of G-funk swagger.

Drift's sonic palette has much more of a dark and sombre feel to it - organs brushing up against sub bass. Drift is harder to pin down as an album, coming across as more of an ethereal listen - sure to be compared to Flylo and Boards of Canada by lazy journalists. Album opener Quest combines eeriechoirs and toy pianos to create a dreamlike atmosphere.

Fog makes use of an infectious beat, heavy hip hop rhythms, Europhile synthlines and stuttering vocal samples to penetrate your mind. Light 1 and 2 are the most pyschedelic of offerings here, full of crystallizedmelodics. Where FlyLo and HudMo utilise overcrowded beats and synthlines to create a feeling of analoguetape warmth, Drift is an alltogether more simple and less crowded affair - full of chilly minor key synths and fractured drum programming.

Without a doubt, both of these albums are essential listenings, so make sure you do the right thing and support theartists - you can buy Butter here, and Drift here.

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