ONE WE MISSED: The Skull Eclipses: The Skull Eclipses (Western Vinyl/Flying Out)

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Yearn Infinite I
ONE WE MISSED: The Skull Eclipses: The Skull Eclipses (Western Vinyl/Flying Out)

It's widely accepted these days that when it comes to sonic innovation, studio techniques and the post-modern assimilation of ideas from the vast musical past of recorded music, that hip-hop producers have it all over those in the rock and folk genre.

Those in the latter two genres who make the most impact borrow more freely from hip-hop ideas than those who faithfully reproduce the past, albeit more widescreen in hard rock because of available technology.

But any sensible list to hip-hop – and of course trip-hop, grime, trap et al – will tell you this is long been where it's at.

Certainly the posing of rappers or those who implode words which rhyme in the absence of any sensible meaning are hard to get past.

Some of that lyrical shortcoming is evident on this US album from last year by producer Spencer Stephenson (aka Botany), rapper Raj Halder (aka Lushlife) and guests. But when Lushlife nails it – young blacks murdered by police, gun culture, Islamophobia – this is impressive enough.

However it is the understated work of Botany bringing in African-style percussion, sampled vocals, soulful singers to add seductive melodies and hooks and so on, where this really gets some aural traction.

The brief Yearn Infinite II features the music of the very special Laraaji, not a name you'd associate with this genre.

Not an essential album but yet another example of the art of a producer.

Check this and albums under the Botany name (notably Dimming Awe, The Light is Raw from 2015) on Spotify.

He's clever, but not clever-clever.

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