Amber’s horrifying packing list, and this week’s charts! Never a dull one in these parts.
Today on the 21st Century Schizophone the good doctor rounds out the July edition of the Montreal Sessions with a meditation on “the music of the city” revealing a Montreal both real and imagined…Plus the Top Five Schizophonics Countdown! Not to be missed.
Purity Ring – Obedear – Shrines
Hobo Music – A Documentary by Kate McGillivray
Regal Degal – Pretty Busy – Speckled Fruit
Cousins – Khyber – The Palm At The End Of The Mind
Solar Year – Global Girlfriend – Waverly
Cadence Weapon – Cheval – Hope In Dirt City
Aesop Rock – ZZZ T0p – Skelethon
The Flaming Lips – 2012 feat. Kesha, Biz Markie, and Hour of the Time Majesty 12 – The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
Snakes Say Hiss – Right Behind You – Right Behind You 7″
Tim Hoover – Part 1: Voices – More Napkins
CFCF – Exercise 2 (School) – Exercises
Willis Earl Beal – Swing On Low – Acousmatic Sorcery
Elli et Jacno – Main Dans La Main – single
Hot Panda – One in the Head, One in the Chest
Delicate Steve – Wally Wilder – Positive Force
Parlovr – You Only Want It Cuz You’re Lonely – Kook Soul
Vostok – The Freak Wave – Silver Space Probe USB
Glasser – Apply – Ring
Kodak To Graph – Express/Cause – Visio’l EP
Purity Ring – Crawlersout – Shrines
Thus begins the pilot edition of The Logical Choice, CKUT’s very own monthly hip-hop review. Every month, we look at new releases both local and foreign, and break down some not-so-new but under-exposed material. In proper CKUT fashion, we’ll be leaving the big-label stuff for the larger publications, and doing our pearl-digging outside the mainstream.
El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
El-Producto is back with his third studio album “C4C,” which has five years of anticipation to live up to, not to mention a massive portfolio up until now. Of course, knowing his body of work in these nearly two decades, it’s no surprise that he’s come through again.
Tribulations first: a glance at the reduced track list and running time might worry some, and the conspicuous absence of the obligatory (but never old) Aesop and Cage collabs does stick out. That said, everything you love about El-P is on full display regardless of the superficialities.
The entire album is a deceptively varied mix of ebbs and crescendos, utterly impossible to properly digest in one or two sittings. The production is as tight as ever, even while at times coming off as uncharacteristically clean for ol’ Lazerface.
Long-time followers may notice an abundance of southern cadences versus past efforts, and yet with his range, from raunchy and loud (“Tougher Colder Killer”) to dark and sullen (“Stay Down”), nothing on this album feels too thickly spread. Musically, El’s construction is as minimalistic than ever (e.g. “The Jig Is Up”) and less chaotic than I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, that unmistakable El-P grunge is there from top to bottom.
Lyrically, he delivers his usual blend of middle-fingered philosophizing and doom-saying, while moving from textbook to more irregular rhyme structures with more confidence than ever. While he doesn’t need to show it on every verse, El is still one of those guys who can show your average Joe Sixteen just how much growing he still has to do.
By the time it’s over, you can’t help but feel pleasantly full, with no doubt as to why this is unmistakably an El-P album. It’s no FanDam, but it puts neatly to rest any thoughts that he’s ready to lose a step. Your only complaint in the end might be that some songs ended too soon…which is why the rewind button is your best friend.
Start With: “Drones Over Bklyn”
Cadence Weapon – Hope In Dirt City
There’s definite replay value here. Dirt City isn’t without its forgettable pieces, but it does a nice job of spanning many styles across the spectrum of today’s hip-hop, a notable fact considering Cadence is largely self-produced.
Songs like “Jukebox” show off a comfort level with a more driven tempo, while “No More Names” mellows things out just as capably. As the album threads along, one moment, you’re hearing roots reggae overtones, the next you’re getting an earful of 80’s dance.
From a production perspective, there’s a “jack of all trades, master of few” vibe to the overall project, for better or worse. Musically and lyrically, nothing on here will knock your socks off, but it’s all brought together with enough craft to keep you listening…and more importantly, not make you regret it.
The album boasts an appearance by Buck 65 on “(You Can’t Stop) The Machine,” which one can’t help but feel could have been a bit more eventful. Still, despite being all-around unspectacular, this album is worth the time—particularly for an aspiring artist—if only on the strength of Cadence Weapon’s versatility in at least half of the four elements.
Start With: “Conditioning”
Brown Bag All-Stars- Brown Bag Season, Vol. 1
BBS V.1 makes a fine tonic for jaded purists and newcomers alike, serving as a reminder that there are still cats out there who hold the art in higher regard than just their bottom line. The main feature is both familiar and refreshing at once, unapologetically showing little interest in taking cues from today’s urban music market. Eschewing evolution is rarely a wise approach, but hip-hop is one exception to this rule, considering what many consider a widespread trend in the wrong direction over the last decade.
As if 16 tracks wasn’t enough to quench the average head’s thirst, BBS V.1 was conceived as a double-album: disc two is a collection of remixes and instrumentals from one of Montreal’s hardest working producers, DJ Brace. The two discs mesh well in aesthetic and attitude, like two buffet tables stuck together under one big tablecloth. Best listened to in two parts, bump disc one until it’s good and stuck in your head, then venture into disc two with an even better appreciation for what’s being remixed.
The lyrical product is solid from the entire emcee corps—Soul Khan in particular chews the scenery from the moment he kicks off “The Agenda,” and adds serious teeth to every track.
Production-wise, there is plenty of variety from the different producers involved—including Marco Polo—but in the way you’d describe the menu at an Italian restaurant; no matter how much variety, it’s all still Italian. For better or worse this album refuses to step outside its artistic limits, and if you try to drink it all in at once, you may have difficulty distinguishing between tracks by the end. In this respect, BBS V.1 can seem like a victim of its own length and consistency.
While the forest can come to obscure the trees, this con is far outweighed by this project’s many pros. BBAS are obviously in it to raise the flag of real hip-hop and bring with them a marked respect for their listeners and love for their art form. This album is an homage to Brown Bag’s many influences; it’s your older brother’s hip-hop, peppered with tasty sampling work and a decidedly eastern attitude. With Volume One weighing in at over 30 tracks, there’s enough to get you hungry for Volume Two, while leaving your belly full enough to wait patiently for it.
8.5 / 10
Start With: “Uglyface”
Logic Johnson is a lyrical ball of sarcasm straight out of Montreal. Member of G.I.G.A.N.T.E. crew and heavily affiliated with the Boombap Cats, he also hosts the old-school funk program “Listen! You Smell Something?” on CKUT 90.3 FM, every Thursday from 1-4am. To request an album review, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week on the 21st Century Schizophone Dr. J loads all the decks in the house for a live soundscape set featuring original field recordings, sound effects records, select music tracks and some in-studio experimentation for a flight through the murky waters of thin air. And then in the second hour we trade soundscape compositions with special in-studio guest Nimalan Yoganathan who will discuss his recent adventures collecting sounds in the Amazons and compare notes with your host and his experiences in the temperate rainforest of British Columbia. Tune in and get Doctored for Super Sound.
Last week an article titled “Canadian Music is Boring: Living in the Age of Enforced Mediocrity” was published in Calgary’s alternative weekly FFWD and received a flurry of interweb attention.
It also got CKUT’s Music Department thinking.
Today’s New Shit (3 to 5 pm) will dedicated to unravelling the truths, falsehoods and nuances behind this claim.
The show will kick off with an interview with the authors of the article themselves – Josiah Hughes and Mark Teo. Jonathan Cummins (musician and music writer) will then talk Polaris and then weigh in on the current state of CanCon music.
New Shit is a show curated by CKUT’s Music Department, bringing you the best in new releases every Monday from 3 to 5pm!
On Wednesday July 18th, If You Got Ears celebrates the third annual World Listening Day, an initiative of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology to underline the work of the World Soundscape Project, and promote the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness and acoustic ecology. Tune in from noon to 2pm as If You Got Ears welcomes Chris Strickland and AJ Cornell into the studio for live performances focused on the act of listening. Chris Strickland will perform a new composition for flute, sine waves and field recordings, while AJ Cornell will amplify the sounds outside the studio and filter them with short range radio transmission and audio stream feedback looping.
If You Got Ears is a music program dedicated to sonic experimentation that airs on CKUT every Wednesday from 12-2pm. Tune in on the dial at 90.3FM, stream the show live at ckut.ca, and download past episodes from our program archives.
You know what’s awesome? When our radio programmers also happen to be excellent concert programmers, like Nick Cabelli from Cabelli Présente happens to be! Nick has programmed an excellent series of shows in August on the 16, 17 and 18th.
Co-presented by this here blog!, the shows feature CKUT faves like Cop Car Bonfire, Dreamboy, ¡Flist!, Halfdogj.r, Hand Cream, Institutional Prostitution, Les Momies de Palerme, Mozart’s Sister, Syngja, UN et/ou We R Dying 2 Kill U and lots more. Here’s the show poster for the first show in the series, check out Cabelli’s Tumblr for more!