Tag Archives: Trip-Hop

Album of the Day: 1five1, “1five1”

The self-titled EP from producer and multi-instrumentalist 1five1 (aka Sandra Annan) is technically her debut, but it doesn’t sound much like one. The Toronto-based producer’s tracks are finely woven and wholly assured, sounding as if she’s been crafting and producing music for years. Influenced by post-dubstep, lo-fi house, and trip-hop, 1five1’s sound draws from iconic outfits like Portishead, even as she completely pushes her own distinctive beats and textures into sophisticated spaces beyond those original inspirations.

From the brief horns and haunting, beautifully layered vocals on dark opener “Blloom,” to the woozy rhythms on “Mila,” and delicate key twinkles on “Heaven,” each track features fine details that create entrancing atmospheres. The cool yet luxurious “Voodoo,” in particular, invites repeat listens, with melodies steeped in sensual, electronic rhythms. There’s a marvelous quality to 1five1’s sound, and its textural richness ensures we’ll be returning to her debut again and again.

-Chaka V. Grier

Ten Artists Keeping Trip-Hop’s Eclecticism Alive

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Even in its earliest days, trip-hop was always something of a sonic mutant. In the early ‘90s, it fused hip-hop and electronica with nods to jazz, funk, dub, and soul in ways that were comfortingly familiar yet unnervingly alien. Trip-hop’s popularity arguably peaked in the mid ‘90s, as pioneering acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Unkle, and DJ Shadow gained both critical and commercial renown. While the latter may have faded as the new millennium approached, the passing of time hasn’t dulled the influence it provides for countless young acts. Now, at a time when almost every micro-genre and musical amalgam is fair game, artists are mining trip-hop for inspiration as a launchpad for their own musical experiments. By merging hip-hop with everything from IDM to world music, the 10 artists in this list show that trip-hop is still the same vehicle for both artistic exploration and sonic rebellion that it’s always been.

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Cold Specks Discusses Her Soulful, Personal “Paradise”

Cold Specks

Photo by Norman Wong.

There’s an old Somali idiom that goes, “Kala garo naftaada iyo laftaada,” which loosely translates to mean, “Understand the difference between your bones and your soul.” Ladan Hussein, aka Cold Specks, sings this expression on her new album, Fool’s Paradise. She delivers the line in Somali, the first time she has sung in that language on record. This is not insignificant: Hussein was born in Canada to a family of Muslim Somali refugees, a fact she has kept largely under wraps—along with most details, small or large, about her identity—until now. Up to this point, Hussein has gone by the pseudonym “Al Spx,” a way to keep the world from knowing too much about Ladan Hussein.

But now, after a heaping dose of self-love and many hours spent watching footage from Somali VHS tapes on YouTube, she’s discovered a deeper understanding of and love for her heritage, and the way it impacts who she is. “I love myself endlessly,” she says. On Fool’s Paradise, she embraces all of the things that maker her who she is, in rhythmic, expansive music.

Hussein spoke with us from her home in Toronto about her family history, why she thinks she’s a pretentious lyricist, and receiving prayers on WhatsApp.

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