19/30 hip-hop

lee clarke – genes

I have a system of analysis for beat tapes: imagine playing them over a five second YouTube ad for gym supplements, or a loading screen for a hotel lobby TV. If you can describe the music as ‘appropriately neutral, wholly inoffensive, and almost insultingly innocuous’ above the visual aid, then it has failed. A fair […]

19/30 experimental hip-hop

quinton barnes – for the love of drugs

Quinton Barnes’ beats have been through a lot. They are responsible for the emotional navigation on For the Love of Drugs—splitting, melding with something new, peppering the vocals. Barnes’ writing, while energized, makes rare use of the abstract. It’s a rational choice to offer central authority to the beats and production, but this record would […]

19/30 ambient

rachika nayar – heaven come crashing

I wasn’t sure if this title was written in the instructional, or commentary register. There is sufficient intensity on this record to supply evidence for both: it is a maximalist, ambient thunderstorm. Though a memorable energy to be felt, Heaven Come Crashing’s focal point is its own perceived beauty rather than any ineffable force beyond. […]

19/30 dance electronic

okhzarp – outside the ride (EP)

Long-time Hyperdub artist and Manthe Ribane collaborator, Okzharp, releases an EP of pummelling dance tunes. There’s a small degree of soul missing in the cuts: one that came through with the unpredictability of 2018’s Closer Apart. Outside the Ride is at its most eloquent in the industrial fabrics, where an expressive maximalism takes place. It’s […]

19/30 folk indie/alternative

katy j pearson – sound of the morning

The latest offering from Heavenly Recordings features “The South West’s Princess,” Katy J Pearson, navigating that ‘tricky second album’. ‘Sound of the Morning’ is a tapas bar of styles and sounds, with Pearson seated at the center of the table, dishing out bites of folk pop goodness through her signature vocals. The Kate Bush/Aldous Harding/Jessica […]

19/30 rock

and so i watch you from afar – jettison

‘Jettison’ is an agreeable album that doesn’t quite seize the grandeur its instrumentation holds out for. It comprises an enjoyable, lengthy experience without offering a goody bag of thoughts to take home. There are certainly strengths: the spoken word feature is not overused and sits coolly in the background, never trespassing in the network of […]