2012 Artists' Picks

The Alvaret Ensemble
The Boats
Enduser / The Teknoist
Alejandro Franov
Christoph Funabashi
The Inventors Of Aircraft
Kostis Kilymis
Lau Nau
Madera Wind Quintet
Todd Matthews
Lubomyr Melnyk
The Outside Agency
Pleq + Philippe Lamy
Roach & Metcalf
Martin Schulte
Jay Shepheard
Tape Loop Orchestra

Compilations / Mixes
Darkroom Dubs Vol.3
Petre Inspirescu
Pop Ambient 2013
v-p v-f is v-n

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Bee Mask
Fluorescent Heights
William Ryan Fritch
Junction 12
Lind and Loraine
Alessan Main
Show Me The Future
10 Yrs 45 Vol. 10
Wolf Cub

Day: Land Of 1000 Chances

Land Of 1000 Chances is as fine a collection of instrumental hip-hop as one might hope to happen upon, but it's also more than your standard exercise in crate-digging. What gives the sophomore effort from DJ Day (Palm Springs, California-based Damien Beebe) considerable heft is that the sampled material is augmented by punchy live playing, with the drums in particular making a big difference in the material's impact. It takes but 30 seconds for that to become clear when the opening cut “VQ” segues from a manifesto-styled voiceover into a crisp drum-powered groove that kicks the song into life. Much the same happens during the subsequent cut, “Chinaski's Theme,” in the syncopated beat that elevates the tune with such funky swing, and in the later “Boots in the Pool,” whose entrancing snap is bolstered by an equally irresistible attack. Issued on Thes One's Piecelock 70 label (PL70 for short) and also executive produced by the People Under The Stairs associate, Land Of 1000 Chances includes contributions from Kat Ouano (Crown City Rockers) and Ken Belcher, among others, a move that helps puts some distance between it and others in the beatmaker field.

The forty-four-minute set's a genre-spanning collection that's rooted in hip-hop, of course, but also extends into jazz-fusion (see, for example, the George Benson-esque guitar break in the title track) and soul (“Daddy's Home,” which features a male vocalist's soulful croon). Beebe isn't afraid to get mellow either, as the California-like swoon of “Partir” demonstrates, and repeatedly puts his crate-digging skills to inspired use, as evidenced when a few moments from Yes bassist Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water find their way into “Hopefully.” To his credit, Beebe brings a restrained hand to the material, a refreshing move when many a crate-digger overloads a given track with too many samples. Day's tracks, by comparison, end up sounding more like a tight live band than a brain-addling collage of dusty samples. He also manages to strike a comfortable balance between accessibility and experimentalism—more easily said than done. Honouring the past without being constrained by it, Day follows up his 2008 debut The Day Before with fifteen stoked jams that should have heads nodding long into the wee hours.

February 2013