Michna: Magic Monday

The music on Adrian Michna's Magic Monday is as multi-hued and saturated as its candy-coloured cover. The young producer's debut album blends hip-hop, funk, and soul into a succulent instrumental mix that often comes across like an affectionate homage to his NY home. Splitting his time growing up between Miami and NY, he gradually established himself by DJing under the Egg Foo Young alias, garnering a “Next 100” nod in URB, and tackling production assignments for Bonde do Role and Diplo. Currently a Brooklyn resident, Michna bolsters the album's “city” vibe by sprinkling sounds of subway trains, crowd noise, and street people (even one tortuously crooning Neil Diamond's “Sweet Caroline”) throughout the disc. Michna also brings a marked degree of proficiency to the material: the multi-instrumentalist is not only skilled in the keyboard and electronic gear departments but also plays trombone, trumpet, bass, and guitar on the album.

Following an over-the-top horn fanfare that's got to be tongue-in-cheek, “Triple Chrome Dipped” starts the album proper with a slick electro-hip-hop hybrid that features a deliciously swaying groove topped by cross-currents of voice exhalations and an even sweeter hook, a stuttered croak that intermittently punctuates the song's “Trans-Europe Express” pulse. The funk jam “Swiss Glide” rolls out a slinky, slow-motion lope that Michna nicely boosts with the addition of his own trombone playing, and a crisp head-nodding pulse and sparkling Rhodes melodies give the instrumental hip-hop of “Believe In It” an appealing snap. With its soul-jazz funk flow and smooth horn playing, the aptly-named “Skunk Walk” brings a robust and full-bodied live feel to the collection while “Levitation” serves up the kind of slinky instrumental flow that wouldn't sound out of place in a Prefuse 73 set. Admittedly, a few tracks come across more like atmospheric jams than fully-developed songs but most of the songs leave strong impressions. “Bumper Car Masters,” for one, still goes down easily when its horns hook up with its keyboard sparkle and grooving, bass-sweetened pulse. That caveat aside, there's much to like about the fresh clip-hop Michna delivers on this solid debut outing.

October 2008