Tag Archives: Lani Milbus

  • Album Review: Flu - Fludust

    Album Review: Flu - Fludust

    Fludust

    Starting this review has caused much trepidation, mainly due to the multifaceted and complex nature of the writing displayed within this LP, it’s as though somehow I want the review’s intricacy to reflect how crazy Flu’s writing is, but alas, the music speaks for itself, and nothing I write does this album justice.

    The return of your favourite anti-hero, Flu, delivers his finest work to date. The acclaimed genius, is considered by many to be one of the best emcees in the country, so it should disquiet many that he has once again levelled up, taking his signature elaborate styles to a level we’ve yet to see in full form. The latest release is as unsafe as it is enjoyable to listen to. Entirely self-produced by Flu and mixed by Crate Cartel member Phil Gektor, it’s an incredible solo effort on Flu’s behalf. It is also a reflection of how good Phil is getting on his mixing work as well, he does a phenomenal job.

    Dust is a chessboard, each beat the opposing player, every line a significant move of each piece. Every piece of imagery and content puts you in check and before you’ve thought of an escape route, he has once again put you under check once again. The level of lyricism is hard to describe. It’s layered, sarcastic, cavernous, original and super poignant. Double entendres, double meanings, heavy metaphors and innuendo all twist the brain into a pretzel knot, making each line sink in subconsciously before the conscious mind can comprehend the layers to each line.

    Dark, moody, atmospheric and dusty describe the album’s soundscape. Some tracks hit you hard in the mental, some hit you hard in the heart, others are hype stomping tracks. If you purchase this album in hopes of a “feel good”, positive, party record, then you will be seriously disappointed. If you’re after an album, with depth, production value, reflective songs, dark, complex themes, incredible finesse and unfathomable lyricism, you will be unassumingly impressed. The ambiguity of some lines are brilliant. The best example of this complexity, treacherous style is the track “Pay Dirt” where he blisters through some incredible lines, over a heavy slow banger.

    The only thing I can find wrong with this release is that its only 10 tracks deep. However, the quality of the tracks just leave you scratching that itch that he leaves you with, needing the next fix.

    The album has some impressive features including Fashawn, Has-Lo, Phil Gektor & Shirt, and they all bring their weight to each track. Flu is a super heavyweight on each track including the features, but the tracks that pertain to me the most are the ones when he is rocking solo. Songs such as Anti-Hero, Kerkovian, Pay Dirt & Operation: DUSTLAUD are stand outs for me, with Flu flexing his superior styles & panache over each self-produced masterpiece. The one stand out track to me that just hits the chills, Phantom Cloak is inconceivably relatable. Too many great lyrics to quote, but every line is well-crafted and is delivered from a perspective of wisdom and solemness. The beat is understanding and wraps you up in its unassuming arms. In a cookie cutter world, this song is unapologetically swimming against the current. Having a code over all the bullshit basically.

    Flu has not released much previous production work, but this album is extremely well crafted, abstract and original. This album is a breath of fresh air, and stands alone as one of the best self-produced and rapped albums to drop in recent years. It has to be in the top 3 releases of 2017, and if you disagree, you need to listen to music more intently.

    Disclaimer: this article was written in awe and appreciation of the craft of emceeing displayed, and in no way is trying to “sell” this album to the reader. It meekly tries to give it the respect it truly deserves, and has been an article that has taken months to write.

    Words By Lani Milbus

     
  • Social Change – Comin Up Fast (ft Mnops)

    Social Change – Comin Up Fast (ft Mnops) Social Change – Comin Up Fast (ft Mnops)

    Social Change – Comin Up Fast (ft Mnops)

     

    'Comin’ Up' Fast sees two of the biggest Adelaide heavyweight rhymers come together to show people what is f%$#-ing up, down in South Oz.

    Arguably the two most slept on artists in Australia, Social Change & Mnops together is a deadly amalgamation of wordplay, delivery and distinct voices cutting through over a Funkwig banger, (who is also disputably one of Australia’s premium and slept on producers.)

    The track starts with the slamming vintage production, with Ice Cube’s classic sample “Comin Up Fast” taken from his classic song “Colour Blind” from his album “Death Certificate,” setting up the track and building anticipation for the verses to drop, with a few other samples I’m not familiar with (although one sounds suspiciously like it came from a Superman record haha.)

    Social Change comes in with his trademark authoritative style, voice and flow. Razor sharp lyrics, he addresses being in the shadows and sharpening his sword for many years, starving hunger and “comin’ up” which in my opinion, he is overdue for his “come-uppance.” His voice cuts through with such a fresh Aussie tone, and his breath control on this is gargantuan. Flow is always on point with SC but on this one he condemns every word so you can feel the pulse of every single syllable, like a swinging katana blade striking with every word.
    Mnops comes in with his signature fast paced, multi-syllable style and presents his 4th to 7th bars with some creative deliberate stutters which sound doper than hash butter. Using dirty imagery, braggadocio wordplay and similes – “I’m a fucking eagle, you’re a maggot on a flesh piece” and funny lines like “Emcee’s are looking lost, DJ Khaled on a jet ski,” this verse is entertaining, creative and sonically enjoyable from flow to lyrics and delivery.

    All sound effects, mixing/ mastering are all achieved handsomely, using scarcity mixed with tasteful placement and selection of all elements, this track is a certified, head-nodding, true school boom bap classic.

    I’m looking forward to Social Change’s highly anticipated album/s, and Mnops’ follow up to his April Fools mixtape titled “Jokes On You,” and I’m not the only one that should be either!

    Listen to Social Change – Comin Up Fast (ft Mnops) Below!

     

    Words By Lani Milbus

     
  • Must Volkoff Talks Aquanaut and Touring!

    Must Volkoff - Aquanaut

    Must Volkoff speaks with OZHIPHOPSHOP

    Ozhiphopshop caught up with Must as he was on tour for his recent  album release Aquanaut out now.

    Lani Milbus
    Yo whaddup Musty, how are ya mate? Cheers for taking the time out to have a chat. You’d be a busy man, I swear you make beats in your sleep? haha

    Must Volkoff

    Ha no worries bro, cheers for hitting us up.

    L
    So where did it start musically for yourself? Like as a kid, where did inspiration/interest come from, when did you start playing music, and making beats?

    MV

    I’m lucky my folks told me to pick an instrument when i was about 5.  I chose the clarinet then took up the saxophone as well when I grew a bit more.  I had some good teachers in primary school that taught me some blues scales and how to improvise trading bars back and forth with them in my lessons.  I kept it up through most of high school until I lost interest in the school bands and wanted to do my own thing.  I started playing drums in a band and making beats when I was about 16 or 17.

    L

    Awesome man, the musicianship in your records is blaringly evident, especially with your drums. Obviously over the years you have upgraded your studio setup “saving up for apparatus”, what was the original setup you started on? And if you had to convert back to that for beats, what would be the one instrument/unit/plugin/gadget etc you would wanna take from your current setup?

    MV

    The very first beats i made were actually using the audio tracks in video software, I think it was an old version of Adobe Premiere, just cos that’s all i had and knew how to use it.  Then we got Fruity Loops and Mata and I made hundreds of beats together on that and recorded a few tunes onto cassette.  We switched to Pro Tools in ’02 and I got the MPC 2500 about 10 years ago now.  Switching back to old Adobe Premier haha, i’d have to keep the MPC.  You can do it all in the box and just two track beats at the end of the day and be done with it.  Sometimes that sounds best.  If i could keep an instrument it would be the Fender Rhodes for sure.

    L

    Word man, excellent selections!
    Pang Productions is an incredible label. How did it start? You guys have always been a beacon of light for anyone wanting to do music D.I.Y. What’s your advice for young cats who wanna run their own label? And what was the main factors in you wanting to do it off your own back? (Obviously that’s a very broad and multi-faceted question)

    MV

    Thanks bro!  We never really set out to run a label.  A lot of people have told me they want to start one and it always seems like a bit of a pipe dream to be honest.  I think wanting to start a label for the sake of it’s probably not gonna work.  The label kind of grows out of necessity after you’ve made the music and you need a way to release and promote it while remaining self reliant and not getting ripped off.  We just wanted to learn the whole process ourselves.  Even as a kid i never liked to ask for help much, i preferred to figure things out for myself.  People started to take notice early on even when the quality was low, I think because they felt where we were coming from.  So we could see there was a lane for us and we’ve just kept at it.  We’ve grown our audience real gradually and organically.  So just have the right motivation i suppose.  Try and offer something unique.  Take pride in your work and pay attention to detail, the little differences make all the difference.  There’s a flood of artists these days it’s all about standing out.

    L

    Awesome advice mate, you definitely have your own unique sound, and your attention to detail is second to none.

    So, do you have any emcees/DJ’s/singers you absolutely love to hear on your beats? And if it hasn’t happened yet, who would you like to hear on them? I personally love Sonnyjim, Flu, Mata & Must, Dialect, Dyl Thomas, One Sixth and Mantra. Mongo is now one of my favourites too .

    MV

    Yeah I’ve got a handful of nice tunes in the works with Mongo, we’re gonna do something with those soon.  Recording Nelson Dialect is always a pleasure, we tend to keep the first take unless he fumbles which is rare, so it’s always a buzz when I know I’m hearing the song happen live.  I like working with new people, trying to come up with something to suit their style.  I’ve also had an album in the works with Eduaz for a while now, a dope MC from Chile living in Melbourne.  I’m planning on producing a bunch more rap in Spanish when we go over there soon to release it and do some shows.  The scene there seems real fresh.

    L
    Nice man! Eduaz is extremely dope, I saw a drop with Maundz a while back and that was ill! Looking like you got some big tunes on the way bro! Sheeesh!

    You obviously work with a high calibre of artists, and provide many with a recording space, and by my observation, you have the uncanny ability to extract a high level (if not best) from everyone you work with. Clearly you have the Midas touch, but how do you approach getting that from the artists you work with? For example say someone is recording a joint for one of your production albums at the Pang lab, and isn’t getting the results you’re after, how do you go about getting the outcome you want, and what are the more common problems you frequently correct in the booth?

    MV

    I can’t take too much credit.  I try to have patience.  It’s hard to keep the vibe when it’s taking a lot of takes.  I’m often telling mc’s to chill and focus on what they’re saying so they get that calm conviction happening rather than just getting too hype and starting to yell, rushing and running out of breath.  Relax and let the tune do the work.  Also ‘you’re doing too many backups, just do a few in the right spots to add some dynamics’.  Rappers seem to think the work’s done when they’ve got the verse sorted and just make a mess of the backups and ad-libs.  Then I gotta spend hours editing.  I do scrap a bit of music.  A couple of tunes featuring close mates on White Russian and Aquanaut were the 3rd or 4th attempt.  If i’ve just got the one tune from someone i’ll work on it and maybe remix it altogether until i’m satisfied or go mental and have to leave it alone.

    L

    You definitely can hear the calmness and conviction of the guys on your records bro. Take the advice from Must everybody - "you needa relax and let the tune do the work," great insights man

    Who’s your top 5 emcees in AUS?

    MV

    Man that’s a tough one.  I can’t pick a favourite anything.  I’ll say

    Flu

    Lazy Grey

    One Sixth

    Ciecmate

    Nelson Dialect

    L

    Dope choices bro, I'd have to agree with you on that!

    What up-and-coming beat makers have taken your fancy? And what sorts of producers do (did) you take inspiration from? 

    MV

    There’s loads of great producers around.  Adam Koots is the best.  Mr Litty is a young G doing dope things.  Joe Syzlak killed Context’s EP earlier this year.  Oath is real nice.  I’ve taken insipration from loads of Funk, Soul, Reggae and Dub producers.  All kinds of jazz and psychedelic music.  All the typical Hip Hop producers like Muggs, Premo, Pete Rock, Rza, Erick Sermon, J Dilla, Dr Dre, Kev Brown, Jehst, Task Force, Harry Love, Third Person Lurkin, Lewis Parker, and some wonky future beat stuff too.  Anything that catches my interest really.  I don’t even have to like it to find something interesting about the way it’s mixed or arranged or whatever.
    Must Volkoff - Aquanaut Cover

    L

    I wrote a review for the Context EP earlier this year, those beats are crazy, the other dudes are top notch too, sounds like you have an ear for authentic, pure musicality with those choices!

    What’s on the horizon next for Pang? I know there is a word of a Must x Dialect album in the works, anything else to be excited about? White Russian is a certified classic, Aquanaut you outdid yourself again in impressive fashion. Evolution is obviously important to yourself, how do you handle the pressure of trying to follow up (and outdo) such well received and polished albums?
    MV

    Yeah the Must x Dialect release is on the way.  I just need to get some time to finish things off.  Koots is crunching out beats for a new crew release that’s coming together nicely. I’m gonna try and take a break soon and get back into beat making mode to work on some shorter releases with a few UK artists.   I also want to work on more live instrumental stuff.  You mentioned evolution, like anything i need time to be focused on making beats daily to get that happening.  Otherwise i feel too rushed to experiment.  As for handling the pressure i’m not sure if i’ll be doing another full length production album with features again any time soon.  I think having the commitment to follow through when you wanna chuck it in is what makes the difference in the end.  I’m lucky to have people around that will put up with me being stressed and self absorbed.

    L

    Must Volkoff x UK artists is always a chicken dinner for me man, look forward to that, and hearing the Koots produced crew! Definitely understandable, one can only assume the hours and strands of hair out of the scalp it took to create those incredible albums haha.

    The name rings a bell. Tell us how Mata & Must came about, (names/history) and talk us through your mind state in transforming into Must Volkoff (Honeymoon On Mars Ep was the first project released under that title yeah?)
    MV

    Mata and i became friends the first day of High School, just cos we shared the same taste in music and sense of humour.  He was the front man for our band in our teens.  Mata was how his real name sounded backwards and I came up with Must real quick to go with it.  They just sounded good together and I liked the ambiguous meanings.  We started making beats together and writing raps in the last year of high school right before we heard any other local stuff.  Rigorous were the other crew round our way one year older and one step ahead.  I came up with Must Volkoff when i was making White Russian, just because Must wasn’t unique for searching on the web.  Volkoff is actually my middle name, I’m half Russian so using that was part of the whole theme.

    L

    Awesome man! That brang a huge smile to the face. Its excellent to see more and more artists in Australia embracing their heritage, and the theme for that album is incredible. Excellent you mention the ambigious meaning between yourselves, it follows into my next question, I guess thats why you titled it Paradox Of Minds.

    Paradox Of Minds is easily in my top 5 of all time Australian Hip-Hop albums. This (to me) set a standard of lyricism and beats, which was completely pure and unsaturated, and was the voice of the independent, struggling D.I.Y artists in oz. I’m sure many would agree with me on this albums merits. I have spoken with Mata, and he said to ask you haha. What do we need to do as an oz hip-hop community to get it pressed on wax? Like I will organise it. I will get petitions happening. I’ll hang on the streets and pester heads coming out the local independent stores. Fuck I’ll start a go-fund-me. They say never say never, but what’s the chance of us making it happen haha?

    MV

    Haha thanks bro i appreciate that!  I like to do things properly though.  I did my best at mixing and mastering that album myself at the time.  It wouldn’t be easy to go back and find those sessions to get it mastered for vinyl without wanting to adjust things and open a can of worms when i’m focused on progressing into the future.  It’s fresh that some heads want it so much but i’m just not motivated to work on releasing old music at this point.

    L

    (Sulks for a second) Fair enough mate, I completely get that, hopefully one day!

    Joe Snow and yourself have just been recently doing workshops in Yuendumu, how was that experience, and what did it entail? Much respect man, I personally think it’s really important to engage with the youth and particularly our indigenous communities. What gave you the spark to do it? I understand you had a few people help financially to make it happen?

    MV

    Yeah big thanks to the people who contributed to the Kickstarter.  It was a crazy experience.  We were lucky to be invited up there.  I’m keen to do more youth work, so far I’ve just taken it on when it’s been offered.  We were there for ten days.  We basically took small groups of kids out bush to different spots they knew and wrote and recorded with them in the back of the 4WD.  We made a pretty raw little posse track.  Shooting video the whole time.  There’s a verse on there in Warlpiri language!  The beauty of the landscape and people up there definitely exceeded my expectations.  I’m gonna cut the film clip together in the next few weeks so keep an eye out.

    L

    Amazing man, truly inspiring, and no doubt just as beneficial for yourself as the people you met and worked with.

    Your about to set sail on your Aquanaut tour, and looks like each state has got some pretty special shows! What can you expect from a Must Volkoff set? Both production albums you didn’t spit on, so how does that translate to a live performance for yourself?

    MV

    I’ll spin some stuff i’ve produced to warm it up for a bit but I’m lucky to have a bunch of dope MC’s turn up at each show and perform the tunes we’ve made together.  It’s more about them really I’m just running the beats and live cuts, firing lasers and catching backups when people run out of breath or blank out.  I might spit a verse too.  I’m happy to have my name on the top of the bill though.

    L

    Dope bro, looking forward to seeing you live man!
    Thanks for having a chat brother, your time is greatly appreciated! Much respect and accolades! Finally, what is your final message to young artists, beat makers, emcees, DJ’s, young men and women? What’s something you believe is important? Haha, a chance for some Musty wisdom!

    MV

    Thank you bro!  Just be yourself, love yourself and all that.  It sounds corny but for some people that’s the hardest thing.  Have something to say and offer something unique otherwise what’s the point.  People will just listen to the original.  People want to hear your voice/personality/style cos it’s unique.  Not you trying to sound like someone else. Confidence and commitment is everything.  Peace!

    L

    Much respect my man, 150% agree with people need to learn to love themselves. Like you said sometimes it can be the hardest thing to do, thanks for sharing your insights Musty!

     
  • Album Review! Ciecmate The Yin Ep

    Australian Rapper Ciecmate

    Ciecmate – The Yin Ep

    Perhaps his most personal release to date, The Yin is more than just an EP. It’s like a tête-à-tête across a table with the man Ciecmate himself. He has always been one to share himself inside the music he creates, but this release is more intimate than anything else he has done before, and is like a conversation between himself and the listener, or himself and himself. It touches on matters of the heart, an introspective look inside the inner faculties of the soul. The Yin is the counterpart of a duo EP, this release showing how both Yin & Yang are necessary, inseparable and contradictory opposites, and consolidating both EP’s as one full project. There is no night without day, the moon misses the warmth of the sun at night, and the seed of a flower grows from complete darkness, as above, as below.

    The Yin is extremely direct in delivering each tracks content, not a single line wasted in the entire EP. Ciecmate leaves himself vulnerable on tracks, but is so concise and straight to the core in each line that he commands this vulnerability. It is sharing all the tiers of emotion, not confined to any specific sentiment which makes relatability an extremely important attribute to this release. From love, reflecting on his formative years, to matters of self-preservation and survival, to the ups and downs of being a creative soul, the content of this EP bursts through in a clear but powerful paroxysm.

    1. My Life
    Slow infectious head banger. One of the countries true specialists of syllable placement, Ciecmate mixes it up between elongated rolls of flows, to bursts of double time, keeping it fresh for the listener. If this album was a conversation, then this track would be the thing that one friend says to the other to break the walls down and bring it to a more personal level. It’s a reflection on his journey to the person he has become, looking back over the years and how that’s crafted the man that’s speaking to you now.

    2. Wifi
    Picking up where the first left off, the second track explains Ciecmate’s teen years, from street crime to music and how life experiences has shaped his mind state. The beat is sleuthy, sludge driven, warm and mean. One of those beats you pull a stink face at. The syllables get chopped up again, nothing being ditto, variety the spice of music not just life. His conviction is real, you can tell from the delivery, and the content inside the track, you get to know him and his history further. An important element to the EP, it holds the place of a ”hype joint” for the project, which is fairly relaxed.

    3. Little Shell
    Soulful, melancholic and free-spirited. This song is the anthem for the introvert, the producer shackled to the computer desk, the vitamin D deficient artistic souls. As inventive people, we often get lost in our creative bubble, and that can create a certain unrest within ourselves. The funny thing is, that feeling only intensifies when we aren’t being productive. “Cabin Fever” the first two words on the track encapsulate the songs title, the content and the emotion portrayed through the beat. This beat continues the dusty, retro, and slower bpm feel for this project.

    4. You & I
    Perhaps the most personal track on the album, You & I is an extremely personal, and emotional account of his break-up and himself dealing with the loss of true love. What I do love about this track (although not my favourite joint on the EP) is that it’s still raw, and concise without any typical “love song” connotations. It’s extremely honest and touches upon relationship issues that are often overlooked by other artists, and written in a broader perspective not just grief and pain.

    5. Many A Lesson
    Bigfoot joins Ciecmate on the production for the concluding song, playing electric guitar. This beat continues and finishes the slower bpm feel of the whole project, but Ciecmate relishes in the double time flow. It allows you to see more cogs turning in the BTE chief’s brain and get to know him and his essence even further once again. Flow is a great attribute of this one, but the mixdown on this one is real fresh also. The guitar work by Bigfoot is variant throughout and creates a “Joe Satriani’ish” baroque sound that compliments the song, the outro playing only creates that feel even more. Probably my favourite track on the EP, it just has a great characteristic in sound and feeling.

    The Yin is Ciecmate’s most personal and polished release to date. A couple key points of this release is: it’s a great reflection of a man not just a rapper, producer or label don. He doesn’t touch on many subjects he usually does ie Grand Lodge 3 sort of material, which I just think is a nice touch (musical diversity, and the anticipated follow up GL3 album is on its way), and rarely even a cuss, you can tell every word and verse was well thought out and crafted personally, but also as the emcee’s emcee. The overall mixdown and master is really nice, quite an enjoyable album sonically and musically.

    The Yin & The Yang is a two part series released on vinyl and digital formats, both records essential to any Oz wax collector.

    Words By Lani Milbus

    Keep up to date with Ciecmate and all the camp here!

     
  • Album Review: Must Volkoff - Aquanaut

    Must Volkoff - Aquanaut Cover

    Must Volkoff – Aquanaut

    From the unfathomable bathymetric depths of the Universe, swims the 2nd production album from Must VolkoffAquanaut. The album’s title lends itself to grand imagery, metaphors and marine-like depth, which can be said for the music itself. Just take a few moments to mull over the title in your head, then apply it when listening. The album features artists from the UK to Australia, connecting the Indian to Atlantic ocean, effortlessly bridging the gap between them.

    Must Volkoff should be in your top 3 producers in Australia, if he’s not then you misunderstand what makes good production. This record is meticulously crafted, easily one of the most well produced albums I’ve heard. One can always provide endless accolades for his beats, however when speaking on production, I’m talking on a broader spectrum. The samples, mixing, cuts, tape hiss etc, are made in such incredible genius and taste, all those 1 %er’s pushing it further into undiluted pristine territory. While a lot of artists in Australia can be sea urchins and leeches, Must (and Pang Productions in general) are lantern fish, illuminating the way through. As the tidal waves of mediocre music crash our shores, Must is always a dependable anchor, firm on solidarity and quality. His production style has evolved a lot over the years but always has the “signature” stamp of authority. As the great Ciecmate once put it “it’s like he knows how to sample the sound of smoke”, a great way to put it. To me it’s the sound of dust mites in your crate, the sound of floating dust particles basking in morning sunlight, the sound of your cherished childhood arcade (mine was timezone) or the sound of water rising above Lemuria. To describe his style of beats forces the author of this article to plunge into a few under worldly oxymorons. The beats are archaic but avant-garde, retro but undeniably fresh, blaringly minimal but satisfyingly full, simultaneously. Each track on this album paints a vivid soundscape, which drags you down like a Grindylow into the murky world he has created, beautiful and healing like Jengu spirits.

    All the guest rappers on this do an amazing job with their verses. Every track is at an exceedingly high standard, dense both lyrically and in delivery. Must really knows how to bring the best out of every rapper he works with. Apollo Brown is an example of someone who does a similar thing. One can only speculate on the creative process of an album like this, but through either his selection of beats, the way he mixes their vocals, or perhaps being on the frontline of quality control, you can expect any rappers collaboration with Must to be super ill. Working with rappers with such high calibre, and distinct styles and voices definitely would help that. The album features and impressive list of rappers including Chester P, Maundz, Remus, Mata, Jehst, Flu, Sonnyjim, Nelson Dialect, Joe Snow, Adam Koots, One Sixth, Ramson Badbonez, Aslan, Dyl Thomas, just name a few. A lot of these artists most people know, a lot you might not. What you can know is that each of these rappers are on the top of their game, each one bringing something both layered and musically pleasing to the table, each rapper extremely secure in their style, effortless flows, complex lyrics.

    I will offer some meek critique on it. The main thing I don’t like is that Must doesn’t spit on it haha. Some people may have expectations before listening to the record, it’s not as “party” as White Russian (for less of a better description) but I believe this album bangs harder, and is overall a much more solid release than its predecessor, and to me that’s saying something. This album is more baroque, woozy, lo-fi and off kilter. But it’s hypnotically entrancing and infectious, supremely rich in texture in sound and arguably one of the best produced oz Hip-Hop releases, in my opinion.

    The supreme battle between good and evil, gods and devils is present throughout this album (this is just my perception.) That duality and polarity within the beats makes it so pleasing to listen to. Tiamat & Marduk, Leviathan & Hadad battling as the title goes, the paradox of minds.. aqua – naut.
    Overall it is extremely hard to pigeon-hole this release into any category as it stands alone as an impressive effort from a barrage of talented individuals, led by the mystro Must Volkoff, which has far exceeded the existing high hopes I had for this album. It truly is a remarkable body of tracks, and as always, Must delivers a true piece of sunken treasure.

    Favourite tracks:
    Aquanaut, Dr Seus (ft Flu), The Holy Ghost (ft Nelson Dialect), Fuck The Arcade (ft Jehst & Mata), Raining in the Hood (ft Mongo), Earth Jewelz (ft Aslan), Psychedelic Purple (ft Sonnyjim), M.F.T.C Shit (ft Remus & Chester P), Every Block (ft Gutz & Maggot Mouf)

    All those said, they could be easily be interchanged with others, it’s that kind of an album. What I will say is honourable mentions to Flu & Mata, as the stand out verses on the joint. Go and cop this release now, and when the wax comes get onto it, worth every cent spent, I would buy it 4 or 5 times over

    Words by Lani Milbus

     
  • Album Review: Context - Rogue Astronaut EP

    Australian Hip Hop Context - Rogue Astronaut Context - Rogue Astronaut EP Cover

    Boom bap. It’s a phrase used loosely in this astrological age. Context & Jimmy Flipshyt are names synonymous with the genre. Transmitting their dusty frequencies through the stratosphere for what a mere mortal may perceive as thousands of Earth days, it’s fair to say they have been making noise in Melbourne for quite some time now. A trio of quality Ep’s saw the duo gain rotation on Triple J and supports for touring acts (R.A. The Rugged Man, High Focus Records, P.Smurf, Dialectrix etc)

    This release is quality. Full Stop. That’s my review done. One would only be gushing to find adjectives appropriate for this. Rogue Astronaut is classic, purist Hip-Hop. Under the guise of Joe Syzlak, the release is primarily produced by Context, heavy mid 90’s vibes permeating the whole release. Obviously refined, the production skill is top notch, the drums tight, punchy and dusty. With the addition of a beat each from Boxtrumental & Jimmy Flipshyt this is an exquisitely crafted record. To speak on the vocals could only be a meagre attempt to accolade what can only be described as a story. You have to listen to it front to back with all the art and you can see what the “rapper” aka author is doing. With tight, multi-syllable, pocket flows Context labourlessly (I just made that word up) sweeps over the beats with his coarse, warm and nasally tones. His style comparatively simlar to Leaf Dog (High Focus) and Dandenong heavyweight Never Settle

    I’ll start from the start of the album but conceptually you could view this project in a different order. I’ll get into that later.

    1. Rogue Astronaut (Intro)

    Vinyl crackle, dusty sample, transmitter frequencies, tight swing drums, launching into the sky, this track starts on some intergalactic space writer shit. Context’s flow on this is so dope, some of his best on the release. Buick finishes the track off right with chirps and tight space noise cuts. A great way to kick off the album, it sounds like ya roll a little something to get warmed up if ya know what I mean. Chill back, expand and enjoy the journey.

    2. Piss Me Off

    This track is produced by Boxtrumental. Bangin’ beat, the saloon style piano and horns have that “big” boom bap sound. The track essentially entails the thoughts of a jaded arsehole haha. It is the purist mind state, Context is letting you know all the things that piss him off. Sarcastic and humorous this tracks is flowy and enjoyable. Clever track placement.

    3. Trouble

    Back to Joe Syzlak production. Classic 90’s style samples. Real nice choice and taste in sounds for the production. Vocals are real dry and raspy, combine that with the rapid fire delivery and fresh mix-down, this track is well polished, with a dusty sound. Cuts by Jimmy Flipshyt are killer, wicked selection of vocal samples. This tracks a bit of fun.

    4. Interlude

    Ill interlude, one of the best beats on the album. The samples give it a Honeymoon On Mars feel.

    5. Jazz Man

    One of those beats that Kool G Rap would sound good on. Not to detract from Context. This one is chilled out and somewhat of a narrative. Sick instrumental from Jimmy Flipshyt, the gel with the beat and vocals is nice. The Canberra landed, Melbourne residing rapper is his most melodic on this one, nice to hear a bigger range from him. At this point in the first listen as a listener you know this release is quality. Context is a talented rapper with a unique voice and style.

    6. Route 11

    As suggested in the intro, you could listen to this ep in a different way. These last two tracks have conceptual film clips on Youtube so you could essentially watch “The Landing” then “Route 11” then play the ep from the start (that being said you could check it out in any order, the album is so cohesive). These clips are cinematic and explain the “Rogue Astronaut” theme.

    Context conceptualized the ideas for it and teamed up with Dayne Edward to produce what are two amazing clips.

    As for this track, it’s the standout track of the release to me. My favourite beat, so moody dark, clean and dirty. Head nodding flow, clear concise delivery. Beat change up about a minute or so into the track keeps you on your toes and only deepens the heart thudding connection to the instrumental. Buick holds down the cuts, an awesome way to finish the track.

    7. The Landing

    This is an excellent clip, it is exciting, weird and sets the tone for the whole release (the author could have a whole separate review for the clip itself.) Fat, punchy, live drums and nice sample. Strung out rhythmic flows, solid tone delivery, this is one of Context’s best performances. The cuts entail “Smooth Crash Landing” from Fliptrix (if not already familiar with that album, one doesn’t appreciate the significance of that particular theme) Great selection from Jimmy Flipshyt, very tasteful. The extra sample at the end and studio snippets close the album perfectly.

    After a few rotates, this Ep grows on you immensely. It has a variety of different styles and textures, not too much of this, not too much of that. At first it seems like the vocals need a bit more air in the mix but after a few listens you realize the mix is in that perfect pocket, not too loud, not too quiet. The master by L-Rox at Redsecta is dope, the whole thing bangs. Overall this is a solid release worthy of astronomical praise, limited to cassette and digital, it’s a cult conceptual release. Not many people do that sort of stuff anymore.

    For fans of: Leaf Dog, Must Volkoff, Never Settle, underground Melbourne, dusty crate, Pleiadian type Hip-Hop

    Words by Lani Milbus.

    Context - Rogue Astronaut EP is available now for free download!

     

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