Nabo: Rock Solid Goldmine (Hobby Industries)
Flying Lotus is the LA-based act that’s nabbed most of the attention for severely leftfield hip-hop/electronic crossover releases, and I suppose that’s rightfully so. Few artists are veering so deeply into the grey area between free jazz, hip hop, IDM and electronic abstraction with such ease and fantastic results. But a whole scene of music that perhaps begins at the same point of origin has risen to the surface, and Nabo’s EP is just as exciting, confusing and refreshing as a lot of the FL output that’s surfaced lately. Nabo is more mired in the world of hip hop, but to simplify it by genre to that extent is unfair. It has in common the broken downtempo beat, and manipulation of samples, but otherwise this is pretty far removed from the commercial world of hip hop. Most of the tracks herein are warped, manipulated and bent to lend them a disorienting, wobbly quality. The synth whirs of “Neigh” sound as dizzy as they make one feel upon listening, and the tottering, uneven synth tones that anchor “Parkinlot Pimpin” sound like a drunken descent down the stairs. But the catchiest one here is “Rock Solid,” with a jaunty guitar sample that serves as the primary hook. Dense, chunky claps, woozy organ and buzzy synth lines comprise most of the track’s arrangement, with the guitar hook weaving in and out of vocoded vocals. It’s the most fully formed song on the release, a nice centerpiece that the other looser tracks can circle round. Clouds contributes an airy remix of “Neigh,” and the digital release has a couple bonus tracks that are also worth a listen. Really excellent, strange downtempo goodness — who knew that Hobby Industries would resurface in such fine form?
Watch/listen: Parkinlot Pimpin