Alright, so I’m publishing Thursday Play on…Friday. I’m putting the blame on midterms, whatevah whatevah.
Anyways. On to the good stuff. This week’s review is a less recent drop; Vancouver’s Elekwent Folk released their new album in August. What I enjoyed most about listening to this album was…
Slippery Elm - “Then” (VIDEO)
‘For those of you that may have fallen out of love with today’s dime a dozen hip hop drones, allow me to introduce the Don Juan of beat-making. With five solo releases out on Jellyfish Recordings since 2010, Vancouver-born AstroLogical churns the stuff out like audio-butter. His newest release, Citrus Harmony is fresh as ever- the 6 track EP boasts his signature tone, with rich synths and drums ever so slightly behind the beat (I prefer to call them ʻslumpedʼ), allowing us to sink into the groove and get lost for a while. Heʼs got a knack for designing ultimate instrumental ambiance, full of jazz-woven, funked out dreamscapes that could turn even the most rigid, anti hip hopper into a believer.
Influences like Vancouverʼs own Moka Only and the late, legendary J-Dilla are certainly present in his music, but while he gives a nod to them respectfully, his sound is still very much his own. Branching beyond hip hop, AstroLogical grew up admiring the sounds of Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa, and at 13 demanded a guitar from his parents after developing an obsession with Jimi Hendrix. Again, while itʼs easy to pick up on that tripped out, psychedelic nature when you listen to his work, he seems to take those classic inspirations, mix ʻem up and innovate them – the mark of any proper beat-maker. Itʼs his careful fusion, thoughtful arrangement and genre-melding approach that gives Astroʼs sound the ability to inspirit us.
AstroLogical (also known as Nate Drobner) has his magic-hands in quite a few musical outlets. He started playing bass in a dub/reggae band at 16, the same year he began to make beats. That year sparked the catalyst for his current role as producer for Vancouverʼs conscious hip-hop ensemble Elekwent Folk, with emcees A-Ro and Slippery Elm. The trio formed while the guys were still in high school, and they released their first LP, “Folk Fest” in 2009, still only 17 and 18 years old. Elekwent dropped a second LP, Northern Lights just this year. Astroʼs also the second half of twosome Potatohead People with producer and fellow-Jellyfisher Nick Wisdom, and the pair released a 6-track EP “Kosmichemusik” just last month, with features from Moka Only, Claire Mortifee and Detroit duo Frank-N-Danksʼ Frank Nitt. If that wasnʼt enough, Astro recently moved across the country to Montreal, where he also jams his ass off for the rock/jazz/funk infused hip hop ensemble Panther and the Supafly, playing bass and manning the synths. This is one industrious dude. Itʼs all further proof that his affinity for all things music is not just talent- itʼs a gift.
Aptly named, AstroLogicalʼs sound possesses a celestial quality, often sparkly and expansive, but he works with such sharp intuition that he always seems to know exactly when and where to bring us back down to Earth. Heʼs wary of allowing the music to get too repetitive and never lets the dust settle, like a lover that takes their time and leaves no part of the body unexplored (thanks, Don Juan). Things morph with subtlety and consistency in order to maintain a more vivid palette. The beats are kept warm and textural, so while the tunes pay homage to the cosmic-beyond, theyʼre deeply reflective- making it easy to free up the path inward along with the path out. If youʼre looking for in- your-face, swinging from rafters, lets-do-blow type oʼ shit, AstroLogical probably isnʼt your slice oʼ pie. But if you need to mellow out, decompress, get inspired or just start your new life as an intergalactic space cowboy, this guyʼs got your soundtrack covered. Keep your ears peeled for AstroLogicalʼs sixth solo EP Stereotypes, available on Jellyfish Recordings in early December. Word of warning: youʼre gonna see stars.”
AstroLogical - “Stereotypes” EP (2012) (NEW) available NOW (via Jellyfish Records)
“On the heels of his recent solo and collaborative projects, AstroLogical gives us the “StereoTypes” EP a solo project with features from not only vocal collaborators such as A-Ro of Elekwent Folk and Claire Mortifee, but fellow producers Mosaic and Dave P, adding flavour and diversifying the overall feel of the album.
…very pleased to announce the release of homie and fellow band-mate AstroLogicals brand NEW EP entitled, “Stereotypes”… don’t SLEEP!