TAKE: Earthtones & Concrete
Inner Current

TAKE's Earthtones & Concrete might be filed under instrumental hip-hop but the album's vision extends far beyond a single genre. The LA-based DJ and producer is a creature of osmosis, receptive to a myriad of styles including hip-hop certainly but also jazz and experimental music too. Much of the material oozes an expansive feel, especially when it stylistically merges hip-hop and acoustic jazz (“Through the Glass”); vibes add a smoky late-night feel to the snappy beats of “Black Space & Tangerines” while “Tuesday Never Comes” is hip-hop that swings too. Guests appear also: Gabby Hernandez adds a buttery vocal to the slow groove of “Walk Away,” and MC Dutchmassive's laid-back style meshes nicely with a dreamy groove in “Dreamsuite." Cinematic atmosphere in "Through the Air" comes courtesy of dialogue excerpts borrowed from Paris, Texas.

Though there are familiar touchstones for TAKE's material (the lurching boom-bap style of “Slouched Over,” “Man Plays Dirty,” and “Stepping Over Buildings” calls to mind other practicioners of the genre), Earthtones & Concrete remains a remarkably accomplished and even sometimes beautiful collection (check out the stirring meditation “Northbound”). His material exudes the loose and spontaneous feel characteristic of jazz but the songs themselves are anything but haphazardedly assembled, with even the shortest track evidencing a meticulous approach to song construction.Settings like “The Trouble with Libras” flow past so gracefully it's easy to take for granted the wealth of acoustic and sample-based detail in play. Mention must be made too of the near-symphonic splendour of the gorgeous closer “Los Angeles is Outside.”

July 2007