Beat music informed by the past with an eye toward the future. The latest release from Ontario-born, Guelph-bred producer Elaquent is a project that should be on the radar of every beat-head, hip-hop, or jazz junky around. The producer is able to seamlessly merge off-kilter beats with whacked-out synths to create something that sounds refreshingly alive and addinctingly new. Reminiscent of early Brainfeeder or Mid-2000's Stones Throw, the beats swing and you'll be hard-pressed to not be flipping the record back and forth, listening to this album on repeat. There're passes of Mndsgn's melodies and off-beat hi-hats, Karriem Riggins frenetic loopery, or even the GOAT Madlib's signature left-field approach to the boom-bap. Recorded largely during a trip to Jamaica, the album is free and open, with a plethora of influences and genres informing the tracks. Tracks to check include the blissful opening track "Sunrays (Intro)" that plays off a riff of RAMP's "Everybody Loves The Sunshine", the Dilla-esque swing of "Copacabana", the slinking bounce of "Valhalla", the straight phat fuego of "Onigiri", and my personal favorite, "Moment of Weakness" (featuring Seb Zillner). According to E, blessing in disguise is the "culmination of years of trial and error, failure and improvisation," and is the testament to perseverance and dedication to the craft. As we've said before about E's previous release, just put in on and let the vibes rock. Put out by the good people at Mellow Music Group. 14 tracks in all. Recommended.
- music label: Mello Music Group 2019
reviewed by Roberto Pinstripe 3/2019