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Clams Casino is an individual named Mike Volpe based out of New Jersey, USA.  Instrumentals is one of two releases (Rainforest EP being the other) that he has out so far. Initially self-released as a mixtape, this album has been re-released on Type Records, home to other well known works from artists like Xela, Grouper, Helios, Deaf Center, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Yellow Swans, and beyond.

This record in particular is spreading rapidly across the Internet. Instrumentals employs a wonderfully downtempo frame work which enables quite a bit of leeway for everything else in the album.  Care free instrumental hip-hop beats invade a foggy and spacious musical atmosphere, occasionally being propelled by minor use of manipulated vocal samples throughout the record.

Since first being spotted with its release in August, Instrumentals has received quite a bit of attention. It has been compared to DJ Shadow’s iconic Endtroducing…, released in ’96 (hard to believe that it’s been that long).

While they are both incredible albums, there are some notable differences – mainly in the sense that Instrumentals doesn’t use turntabilism, amongst other things. Having said that, if you continue to enjoy the memorable ’96 record, you’ll definitely enjoy Clams Casino’s latest output here.

Highlights of the album include All I Need, Realist Alive, Illest Alive, and Cold War, the last being a great example of an eloquently used female vocal sample to further the track set to a great beat.

I’m sure with Instrumentals, Mr. Volpe will continue to make waves in the hip-hop community with more quality releases in the future. Enjoy this one!

For more information about the artist, check out the following resources:

Last.fm

Discogs

Type Records
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Boomkat

Download.

Happy 2011 :P

The Balancing Act is Sadistik’s debut hip-hop album, released in May of 2008. From Seattle, he’s known around the area to play rather energetic shows, often sharing the stage with fellow hip-hop acts like Tech N9ne and Slaughterhouse.

Perhaps one of the most notable things worth mentioning in Sadistik’s work here is that it has sports some of the most well written lyrics that I’ve seen out of recent underground hip-hop albums, combined with top of the line delivery and presentation. It really is one of the highlights for the record, and it comes out as a marked testament to the artist’s ability to create incredible stories.

Often sampling trip-hop extraordinaire Emancipator (featured in half of the album), it comes out to a powerhouse of a result: competent, engaging lyrics juxtaposed with expansive atmospherics from the trip-hop guru, it makes for one hell of an album, from beginning to end.

His other, more recent work is dubbed The Art of Dying, in collaboration with Kid Called Computer, and was released late last year.

Be sure to pick this one up, people. Highly recommended.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

Sadistik Music

Buy this at:

CD Baby

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When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence was somewhat of (in my opinion) a sleeper hit of early 2008 released on the lovely Warp Records. The man behind Harmonic 313, Mark Pritchard, has a slew of other aliases and is collaboratively involved in many acts including Harmonic 33, William Parrot, Roberto Edwardo Turner, Link, M. Meecham, Troubleman, N.Y. Connection, however perhaps he’s most known for his work in the ambient/chill-out group Global Communication.

This album flirts with many styles, the focus of which is primarily dubstep and hip-hop, and is influenced by old 8/16-bit videogames (especially notable in track 09, “Cyclotron C64 SID” where he samples from the original Pac Man and other arcade titles). Clocking in at just under an hour, When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence is a decisively bassy and futuristic exploration into dubstep styles tightly knit with a fast-paced hip-hop backbone.

The above song, “Quadrant 3” is the last track in the album, and also perhaps the most approachable. Given Mark Pritchard’s undying love for outerspace (Harmonic 33 itself is named after the frequency produced by planets rotating on their axes), I’d really be curious to know if Alpha Quadrant (in Star Trek lore, the Alpha Quadrant, or Quadrant 3, is known for many beautiful nebulae and other bodies of scientific and personal interest) was the inspiration to this track.

Vocals are ever so sparsely applied throughout the album, specifically in tracks 08 (“Battlestar” featuring Phat Kat & Elzhi) and 13 (“Falling Away with Steve Spacek), the former being an even faster paced rap over heavy drum use, with the latter comprised of a stylistically downtempo beat with soft and clean vocals, which not only serves as a great track to finish off the rest of the album, but it is a testament to Mark Pritchard’s ability to elegantly transverse through many genres and styles within electronic-oriented music. This album: contents under pressure. Recommended.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Support the artist, buy this at:

Bleep

Amazon

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Geskia is a Japanese breakbeat wizard, creating organic, lush, beautifully woven abstract soundscapes that is eerily similar to acts like Flying Lotus. Incredibly solid and groundbreaking music. Extremely refined music; very detailed and very polished. A diamond in a desert of sand.

This album comes highly recommended from yours truly. If you like Clark (as in Chris Clark on Warp), you will like this as well.

In fact, Geskia has been covered on this blog before and remains one of Clothes HQ‘s favorite artists and deservedly so. This album is out now on Flau Records (based in Japan). Just listen to it, I’m 110% sure you’ll enjoy this album as much as I have.

For more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

Support the artist, buy this at:

Flau Webshop

Download.

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