Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Rawhead - Psychopomp

While this project came out in July of 2011, I wanted to hold off on a review until I could get my hands on a vinyl copy. 

Now, this is great. A few months ago, I partook in a competition of producers from my area (Albany, NewYork), at it people showcased their stuff in 4 rounds. Everyone had their own styles, but the person who stood out to me the most was Rawhead. Different from everyone else there, he doesn't make conventional radio hip-hop, he makes really intricate, trip-hop that anyone can chill out and vibe to. Pretty popular around the 518, he does live sets of just instrumentals which are awesome. Once you hear this you can tell why.

I almost can't pick an artist that Rawhead is the most like. While one can see the influence of J Dilla in his style, he almost reminds me of a more trippy Shag. 

It starts out with the title track, Psychopomp. From the very beginning he gives you an ill drum beat over some electronics and what very well may be a cleverly hidden sample that captivated me from the beginning. A few bars in, out of nowhere, the drum beat and sounds switch up for a really dope sound. A lot of the beats on this are like this, with changes that keep the beats from getting stale at all and almost force the listener to bob their heads. Armada is a really spacey experience with drums that bang for another awesome experience for the listener. Track #5, Pause/Still has an ILL drum beat with some spacey flutes and synths in the background that make for a pleasant experience. After hearing Pause/Still, I thought, "shit, this album be able to top this". Well, I was wrong.

Flipped the record over for the vinyl-exlusive B-sides. Track #6, Airloom doesn't seem like anything special at first. But, after the drums kick in and you hear what is probably 3-4 samples meshed together with an awesome bassline AND a very well done vocal sample, it kicks in how truely dope this beat is. Track #7, oddly enough named Seventh, has a really early Dilla feel to it, with a modern twist. The drums bang and the main sample/synth-loop is killer.

Overall, this is quality. I can unbiasedly say that I was not bored once throughout the listening of this project and would not be surprised if other people had the same feeling. While some parts seemed to get so experimental as to interrupt the listening experience, that's a small detail that can easily be overlooked. Combining a finely-seasoned sampling touch with his own electronic prowess on the boards, this project is not to be slept on.

Rating: 9/10


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