Thursday, 29 May 2008

Revelations & Recommendations

The first few months of 2008 didn't really spark much interest in me in terms of new releases, but things seem to have picked up of late with some real corkers coming out in the past few weeks or months.

Firts off, I HAVE to give a very special mention to 'When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold' by Atmosphere. I'm always been a little bit of a fan of Atmosphere and Slug especially, but their albums have rarely impressed me too much as a whole piece of work. However, I am going out on a limb and saying that their new album is not only their best album to date but it's also my favourite album of 2008 so far.

Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold

A few factors contribute towards this album rating so highly. The first is that this albm is the definition of slow-burner. The first listen brought up one or two favourites and a few duff songs, but on second and third listen I started to love every single song and now the album rarely gets listened to if not in one entire go.

Songs such as 'Dreamer', 'Glasshouse' and 'In Her Music Box' are true lyrical achievements, with Slug painting a picture of realism and the way people think and live perfectly. In fact, one of the brilliant things about the entire album is that every song and line is beautifully observed and will strike a chord with someone.

Ant's beats never outshine Slug, but that is a very good thing in this case, as each song is solid and leans towards the content rather than rhythm, which is something hip-hop has lost in recent years in my opinion due to increasing impatience in listeners and an eye towards the 'fast buck' from the artist. Its a truly great album, but one that needs to be fully absorbed.

Another great spect is the fact that album's design is brilliant. My copy came in a CD 'book form with the CD slipped inside a 'page', along with a 36 page lyric book and 'children's stroy which ran alongside the themes of the album. It also had a bonus DVD with live performances and such on it. If more artists and groups took so much time and put as much effort into their album's aesthetic qualities as Atmosphere have, I'm sure retail sales of albums would increase ten fold.

Another album to look out for is 'Spektrum' by Million Dan, formerly of the classic group Demon Boyz. Its been a long time since a full release from him, but it has came along at just the right time, as the shift from UK's urban out put has shifted to grime and the market has been saturated with it. My hatred of 99% of grime can be covered on another day, however.

million dan spektrum

Million Dan has collected a lot of his singles such as 'Dogs N Sledges' & 'Spektrum Ride' and added them to some new tracks to create one of the most versatile and interesting sets to come from the UK this year. The guy deserves all of the plaudits and I fully recommend you at least check this guy out. In fact, I must remember to upload his Infra-Red mixtape from last year as a taster later on in the week.

Two years since the release of 'The Borrowed Ladder', Huddersfield's Asaviour is back with his second full length album entitled ''The A-Loop Theory', this time alongside DJ IQ, who he has released some mixtapes with. Here's hoping he builds on the momentum gained from Savior Faire and The Borrowed Ladder and become the leading light in British Rap that we all know he can be.

Another album I'm really looking forward to is 'It'll Never Catch On' by DPF, which to my surprise and delight seems to be getting quite a bit of shine in the UK blogosphere and media. DPF is one of the best (and underrated) emcees in England and I've been salivating over a full release ever since I heard 'Jelly Bellied Eels' and 'Dis Cuss Peace'.


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