Blockhead Downtown Science (Free MP3) Vinyl 2LP

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Blockhead's second full-length release on Ninja Tune, and make no mistake, this is refined instrumental hip hop. The beats are lush and emotional, while the sequencing is carefully scripted. On "Cherry Picker," a light piano loop rides over hard drums, giving way to guitars, horns and an enchanting vocal sample. The energy picks up on "Art of Walking," infusing percussion elements, an upright bass and some gospel/soul influenced vocals. Definitely capable of an energizing head nod. A little live guitar is thrown into the mix on "Crashing Down," fusing an array of keys, a thumping drum beat and a harmonica? True. This record is Blockhead's ode to downtown Manhattan and throughout the tracks, he openly transforms a variety of world-inspired samples that most certainly mirrors NYC's muddy landscape and population. Some of these beats are heavy on the head - definite Walkman material for the winter months or maybe that 3:30 AM cool out moment at the bar (that's actually my favorite time of the night to play records). Whatever the case, this album deserves a solid listen from front to back in order to catch all the subtle nuances and eloquent mood changes.

  • music label: Ninja Tune 2005 / 2013
reviewed by E's E 11/2005