Milford Reynolds: Second Hand Music
Inner Current

Born in Juarez , Mexico and raised in the Bay Area, crate-digger extraordinaire Milford Reynolds specializes in dusty hip-hop instrumentals that are stripped-down, which consequently allows his tracks ample space to breathe. Throughout Second Hand Music's twelve cuts, miniature cells of piano, electric guitar, and vibes melodies loop and then drop away, shifting the spotlight to the smoky bass-and-drum grooves that funkily stroll and strut underneath. The occasional presence of surface crackle suggests that Reynolds spent a good number of hours scouring the dollar bins for source material. At first blush, Reynolds' material may seem sketchy but stay with it and the uncluttered appeal of the grooves soon begins to assert itself. The pleasure in listening to “Sangria,” for instance, stems less from its simple piano theme than from the punch of its kick drum, while the reverberant crack of the snare sweetly comes to the fore during “Upright Bass Exercise #1 Interlude.” Moody jazz-inflected piano and acoustic bass lines languorously stretch across tight beats in many tracks, though the rather anomalous “Skilled in the Trade” layers rap vocal and funk guitar over a boom-bap pulse. Elsewhere, the fusion of Latin and hip-hop in “Senorita” aligns Reynolds with fellow Inner Current act ILL Padre.

June 2007