Alex B: Moments

Fans of J. Dilla will want to get their hands on a copy of Alex B's debut full-length Moments, which the Boulder, Colorado producer's issued on own Elm&Oak label. Loping beats and general wonkiness abound in seventeen samplings of the crate-digger's ‘bass music.' The instrumentals are firmly ‘in the tradition,' so to speak, of classic instrumental hip-hop, and most tracks are in the two- to three-minute range, making the album feel like an easy-to-digest box of truffles, and many of the tracks are tasty indeed. The grooves often exude a faded loping character emblematic of sample-based hip-hop, and sound treatments heard in the opening track “At Channel One” even evoke “Hyped-up Plus Tax” from Dabrye's One/Three.

With its heady blend of vocal samples, spiraling synth patterns, and clip-clop beats, the bass-heavy head-nodder “You and I Both Know” is particularly Dilla-esque, as is “Show Me,” which lopes in stop-start manner, all the while besieged by a vocal refrain. On a warm and laid-back tip, “Nothing is Always Something,” prodded by a warm synth-bass line, unspools relaxedly, as does the breezy clip-hop of “Impressions.” Piano splinters, electro-synth fire, and crackling beats distinguish “Pad 5,” while “Hide Extension” likewise brings the spaced-out hip-hop fire. Material like “Standing On Me” suggests Alex B's sensibility is close in spirit to that of Flying Lotus's (in fact, Alex B recently produced a mix for Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder label). On the vocal front, the sultry tones of Lilla D'mone appear alongside the soulful bump of “Getting to Know You,” plus there are MC contributions from Count Bass D and Sunk1 (an Orson Welles voiceover turns up on “Drip Splatter”). Those with a jones for inventive crate-diggin' should definitely check Moments out.

May 2010