Big Tree, Small Acts?

It's rare that we ever post album reviews on here (infact I think the first post may have been the last time). Mainly because it is rare that we ever get the chance to give whole albums more than the once over anyway. However there are three that have found themselves on rather constant rotation here at Chrome Mansions over the past few weeks so it's only right we give them a special mention.

Bassnectar’s studio must be next to David Banner’s laboratory cos these beats have definitely been mutated by some kind of gamma force. This is what you might call Hulk-hop of the highest order, his mix of Dubstep and Glitch hop is weightier than almost anybody else out there. The beats here are about as in your face as it gets without slipping into alienating noise clash territory but there’s an element of future phunking bounce that keeps the general vibe as frolic full as a free party in a Fun House. There are a number of thoughtful and reflective moments throughout that certainly qualify this as an album proper rather than simply a collection of bangers, but even these are backed up with massive dirty spine rumbling production and we can’t help but feel that the speakers are going to fall through the floor at any moment.

Download: Bassnectar - Cozza Frenzy / alt link

Buy Bassnectar - Cozza Frenzy

The UK Hip-hop scene was perhaps one of the most self destructive musical environments since Norweigan Black Metal, albeit in a completely non-descript and straight forward manner. The spirit of creativity and invention that first spawned the so-called worldwide cultural phenomenon that is Hip-hop was seemingly forgotten amidst restrictive unwritten rules and tedious in-house bitching, something that occurs everywhere, but when the house is so small it becomes even more tiresome. Egos inflated the second an artist was recognised in his local corner shop and the majority soon got lazy and ended up in the deflating paradox of looking back to the good old days and realising even they were actually a bit shit. To put it plainly, everybody, listener and artist alike (generally one and the same anyway) got bored and eventually boring, everybody that is except Foreign Beggars it seems.

U.C.O.B. oozes with the excitement of a crew that are truly in love with their art. If there was ever even a second of boredom amongst them it must have soon been quashed by discovering some of the most exciting producers in the game and getting them to provide the base (or is that bass) for their collection of fun and thoughtful flame roasted rhymes. Their ears are obviously in all the right places as this is one of the best all round Hip-hop albums of the year so far bar none.

Pre-order Foreign Beggars - United Colours Of Beggattron

The more negative cultural commentators amongst us may feel that the rise of computer intelligence, somehow goes hand in hand with the dumbing down of human intelligence. Computers imitate humans whilst humans imitate computers and get locked in the lifecycle of a robotic drone who can’t think for themselves or even feel for themselves and simply follow a monotonous and shallow pre-programmed objective. This is perhaps as over dramatic as it is pessimistic but not even the ones who feel this way could view the musical interaction between man and machine that has come crawling out speakers from LA to Glasgow and many a spot inbetween, finally to end up in this compilation, as anything but thoughtful, emotional and as organic as it is technically advanced. Wild Angels is a collection of tracks that blurs the boundaries between Hip-hop, Dubstep, Techno, Jazz, Folk and a bunch of left leaning beat genres with tenuous titles. All carry as much warmth as they do a disregard for the rules and a beauty that is often caught within sharp, dark and aggressive surroundings. You can certainly see how the title fits. This is not necessarily for the uninitiated but those familiar with the output of Mary Anne Hobbs Radio 1 show will recognise some of the bigger and more forwards thinking names on a scene of increasing relevance that she has gathered here.

Download: Gemmy - Rainbow Road (128) / alt link

Mary Anne Hobbs presents Wild Angels is out now on Planet Mu.

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