Tag Archives: Samiyam

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: August 2019


August’s Best Beat Tapes column features several tapes that reimagine attempted but not-always-successful genre pairings. There’s off-kilter hip-hop paired with chopped and warped R&B samples; a trip-hop record that pulls from breakbeat and too many genres to list; an unparalleled fusion of doom-filled rock and slow, sometimes muted beats that still crush; a tape that creates a sci-fi epic by fusing blues and hip-hop. As always, there’s also much more.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: February 2019

beattape_feb-1244Boom-bap. It’s an onomatopoeic descriptor so accurate that you can hear the thudding kicks and crisp snares in the syllables. When you read or hear the word, you might even imagine drums rattling apartment windows as they echo from Jeep stereos and back-breaking boomboxes. Below you’ll find work from disciples of Premier and Pete Rock, people for whom finding the right loop or break is tantamount to breathing. Some push beyond the work of predecessors, creating new permutations with only fragments of the foundation. Others have studied the sacred scroll (also read: the MPC manual) and crafted timeless canticles. All of them are undeniably awesome. Continue reading

How Brainfeeder Leads The Charge For Esoteric Funk, Hip-Hop, Pop, & Jazz


“Brainfeeder,” the opening track on Flying Lotus’s 2008 album, Los Angeles, pulses with a sense of anticipation. Its flutters of static and sci-fi synths seem to telegraph the idea that something new—something weird, mutant, and markedly different from the hip-hop aesthetic of Lotus’s debut, 1983—awaits within. As the album unfolds, Lotus makes good on that promise, delivering a record so groundbreaking that it warped the fabric of electronic music in lasting ways, pushing the subset of instrumental hip-hop known as the beat scene to inventive new vistas.

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Machine Music: Great Contemporary Albums Made on an MPC


L to R: Andras Fox, Steven Julien, Octo Octa

While it’s arguable that a certain Roland drum machine might be more famous, Akai’s MPC sampler series could easily be considered one of history’s most iconic pieces of music production hardware. Though its various generations all have had different features, they almost all employ the four-by-four grid of pads that allows users to play their patterns and rhythms in real time. This process of inputting information, along with the ability to arrange, chop, and play back samples (and MIDI information) in any way the user imagines opened up new musical paths that were previously impossible.

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What Happened to Benny B. Blonco?

Benny B. Blonco

There was a time when artists like The Weeknd and Flying Lotus operated behind a veil of mystery; you knew about their music before you knew about the artists themselves. For New York producer Benny B. Blonco, that narrative is reversed: the once-rising composer vanished from the public eye in 2010. No one knew what to make of his sudden disappearance. All that’s left now is a dusty digital archive for beat-heads who crave the scene’s gritty compositions of the late ’00s.   Continue reading