Olive Oil: Space in Space
Mule Musiq

Mule Musiq's first hip-hop release arrives courtesy of Olive Oil, a Japanese underground hip-hop artist who traffics in a trippy sample-based boom-bap that should appeal to aficionados of Prefuse 73 and Flying Lotus. Space In Space ranges widely, so much so that the forty-minute album registers as the aural equivalent of channel-surfing between acoustic jazz, funk, hip-hop, and classical stations. As if to drive the point home, the shape-shifting opener “Space In Space Intro” throws down with a swinging jazz intro before morphing into a dissonant modern classical episode. There's considerable experimental imagination elsewhere too, as evidenced by the looped sample from Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps that forms the core of the menacing “Black Sky Wiz” and the loop of the rising electric piano run from the start of Stevie Wonder's “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” that Olive Oil weaves into “B C A E D.” Elsewhere there's luscious boom-bap replete with electric piano sparkle (“Time Has C”), heady marriages of jazz fusion and hip-hop ( “Little Metal In Ur Soup”), and crunk-styled boom-bap laced with acoustic piano sprinkles (“Dejital Lake”). There's tight beat flow aplenty as beats stagger and lope t hroughout the album, with many of the tracks' percussive effects sounding as if they were sourced from samples of jangling keys.

February 2010