Thursday, October 27, 2005

How I learned to stop worrying and love Blockhead

I will be the first to admit, in protest to the RIAA's hard line stance against file sharing I have greatly reduced my CD purchases in recent years. I spend most of my time downloading free LEGAL mp3s released by bands, and occasionally buy a used CD here or there or a CD from a band I have just seen in concert. I hate the industry, I love the artists. I would rather go without their albums then hand money to the 'man'. However, when my favorite record label (Ninja Tune) releases a new CD by one of my favorite DJs (Blockhead) with a bonus DVD and I get to listen to it in my local independent record store (Pure Pop), I lay down the $13 and walk out happy.

Blockhead is best known for his production work with Aesop Rock, but he has really shown in his solo work. His debut was Music By Cavelight, a DJ masterpiece easily on par with the best work of RJD2, DJ Shadow, or UNKLE. You've Got Maelstrom is THE SONG out of my entire collection I have listened to the most since over the last year, and I'm still not tired of it. Now to the new album, Downtown Science.

Here's what you'll get when you buy Downtown Science (currently on backorder if you try to get it directly from Ninja Tune):
1. An Amazing Album
2. A DVD covering 3 visual work ups to accompany Music By Cavelight. The visuals vary from bland to inspired, but if you don't already have Music By Cavelight, its like getting two albums in one.
3. As usual with Ninja Tune the artwork is well done and fitting for the artist.

Now to the music. Blockhead continues to grow now that he's been released from the shadow of Aesop. The tracks are sweeping, emotional, and extremely well layered. The use of samples is well placed, and the increased use of blazing guitar doesn't take away from the feeling of the album. Instead, the guitar injects the album with a slight tinge of post-rock. I think this is an inevitable move in this genre, and I can't wait till the exploration goes even further.

Blockhead - Carnivores Unite

Blockhead - Insomniac Olympics (Video)

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