Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Wick-It the Instigator - Grindhouse Basterds
This Monday, Nashville-based DJ/producer Wick-It the Instigator released Grindhouse Basterds, a hip hop, mash-up, remix, electronic, dubstep, mixtape that comes with a heavy dose of everyone's favorite Quentin Tarantino films. It's the long-awaited, much-talked about follow-up to his wildly successful mash-up album The Brothers of Chico Dusty (Big Boi vs. The Black Keys) from last year that took him straight to the next level overnight. Now, Wick-It is melting faces all over the country on a nightly basis and his Grindhouse Basterds is exactly what all of his fans have been waiting for.
It's no secret. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I don't really get down to much dubstep...if any at all. This mixtape is somewhat heavy on dubstep, I mean it IS Wick-It. But I can deal with it and I even found myself head-nodding pretty hard to the mixtape's namesake opening track Grindhouse Basterds, Reservoir Dawgz featuring Bun B and Yelawolf, and the remix of the Pulp Fiction Theme. It's all tastefully done in most spots and simply takes the tracks to the next level when he builds it up then drops it hard into the 'filthiness,' as the kids say.
My favorite parts of the album are by far the hip hop remix/mash-ups. He features nearly every emcee in my top 10 (and then some) - including KRS-One, Notorious B.I.G., Slug, RZA, Ghostface Killah, Murs, Method Man, Aesop Rock, Busta Rhymes, Bun B and Yelawolf. Without question, for me, the strongest tracks are Shoalin vs. White Lotus, Bang Bang, Stuntman Mics, and What Happened to You. These tracks are just more up my alley. True to hip hop with a superb choice of acapellas over some very well-produced tracks. This is how I like my Wick-It. Plus, he gets extra points since Kanye isn't anywhere to be heard on it. Kudos, sir.
I have been following Wick-It for a while. I helped book him at a club I was working at in Memphis 6 years ago or so. He was a dope DJ back then, but he has definitely taken it to a whole new level. In the last year, he has reinvented himself somewhat. It seems now he known for his dubstep rather than his hip hop DJ'ing by the younger generation. Regardless, he is a force to be reckoned with. His fanbase is steadily growing and his internet presence is off the charts. He has changed with the times, as all good DJ's must do to stay alive. Grindhouse Basterds is a just as good as I figured it would be. I would recommend it to anyone who is into electronic, dubstep or hip hop. It's good a great all-around showing of his skills as a DJ and a producer. I hope to hear more tracks produced by him for dope emcees, majors and indie cats. It would be great to see him able to educate the younger generation he captivates with his dubstep on the importance and beauty of old school hip hop- which I know he loves just as much as me. It's present on this mixtape and I only hope he keeps it up.
Grindhouse Basterds also features some strong performances from Nashville emcees Future, Cas One, Iller and Tre E (from Sam and Tre).
Now, GO download or stream the album for free on his website: wickittheinstigator.com. You'll thank me.
The Acidophiles - The Water EP
Right on the heels of Wick-It's release, CO-based electronic producers, the Acidophiles dropped the newest episode in their elements series, The Water EP. This time around they only bring us 3 tracks, but don't let that lead you to believe there is less music on this release. The opening track, Surge, clocks in at over eleven minutes. Without missing a step, the Acidophiles start out their newest EP in the same manner as many of their previous releases: with a slowly building soundscape. I always enjoy this part of their jams as it helps lead me into the hardest bass without slapping me in the face. While the arpeggios and blips are as strong as ever, the bass clearly takes the spotlight on this track. The middle portion of Surge brings some of the hardest bass I've heard on an Acidophiles release (and that's saying something) up until the last minutes when they opt for a funky, squelchy bass patch that gives the whole track a chance to break it back down to the pre-face-melting status of the song's intro.
Sublimation may be a more literal title than I originally thought as the intro is laced with ambiance and background sounds that will make you think of subliminal messages. Just when you think things are beginning to hypnotize you, a patch that could have come straight from Maniac Mansion on the NES leads us into the first of the melodic soundscapes of the track. This track is much more low-key than the previous, with locced-out claps that carry the rhythm as the synthetic elements breakdown and ride back to the top again. In final quarter of the track, the grit comes back to the forefront of the mix. A nasty bass synth leads us through a beat-repeat driven outro that takes the melodic content of this song to its highest point. The slowing walking bass melody creates a fantastic sense of emotion and building drama up until the plunky arpeggiated synth drops tempo and leads into the final track.
Galatic Tides is aptly named as it makes you feel as if you are riding the waves of Saturn's outer most rings. This track is a great example of what continues to draw me back to the Acidophiles tunes again and again. They use sounds that could have been used in the soundtrack of every video game on the NES system. More importantly, they use sounds that are pure and let them focus on the progressions and melodies they create. The combination of their musical sensibilities with their production on Propellerhead's Reason software create a very unique subset of sounds that are not being made by really any other producers I am familiar with. The epic bass sounds of dubstep, mixed with the low-key down-tempo beats and 8-bit synths create a sound that is both new and classic at the same time. The psychedelic element of the Acidophiles sound may be what makes it so successful. Every track tends to take you on a journey. Although this EP is named in honor of water, I feel that it should refer to water in is coolest state: ice; mainly because each of these tracks transports me to outer space. Galactic Tides first made me feel like I was surfing in space, but by the end, I feel like I am zipping across the cosmos on a beam of light.
Overall, the Water EP is a great addition to the other releases in the elements series. The Acidophiles are able to distill the essence of the elements they pay homage to and channel it into their music time and time again. And I, for one, truly enjoy it.
Be sure to check out all of the elements EPs from the Acidophiles at their site
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I'm very excited to revive Remix Wednesday with this remix from Nashville's Blackcat Sylvester and Ugly Lovely. They took "Soul Finger" from the Memphis funk legends The Bar-Kays and turned it into a remix worthy of today's dance floor. Featuring Jay-Z and Kanye West acapellas, this feels like what we wish Watch the Throne could have been. I was very skeptical when I saw the words "Soul Finger" and "Remix" in the same sentence. This song was already a "banger" in its own time. On top of that, growing up in Memphis, this song holds a special place in my heart. But after one listen, I was sold. These doods pulled it off. And more importantly, they didn't butcher this soul classic. The hypnotic sliding bass line of the Bar-Kays is supplanted by a phat and slightly gritty synth bass that occasionally throws in some wobble. The solid back beat of the original is re-imagined with some modern day samples, electronic tweaking, and a healthy seasoning of break-beats. I commend these guys for paying homage to some Memphis funk in a classy way. Do it up, fellas.
Blackcat is known most recognizably for his efforts in the psychedelic, improvised outfit Call It Anything (C.I.A.). Ugly Lovely has been performing all over Nashville and Middle Tennessee as well as making waves on the internet with his recent mixtape Ay Girl! Ay! Ay! Take This CD! and numerous other remixes.