“Miss U (For The Lost Loved Ones)”
“The Waiting Room” (Main Theme)
“Tick Tock Hustle”
Purchase “The Golden Hour” via Itunes
Let’s not beat around the bush, everyone knows I’m a beat fanatic. Make no bones about it though, for an “instrumental” album to even be considered as my “Album Of The Year” is a tough feat to accomplish. However, if there’s any production team (and label, ASIDEWORLDWIDE) that’s been absolutely murdering the underground this year it’s gotta’ be Ann Arbor’s LabTechs. Comprised of Haircut, Vaughan T, Forekast and last but certainly not least….14KT, this production team has quite possibly had a hand in..well….three of the best albums to grace the underground this year: Buff 1′s “There’s Only One”, Now On’s “Tomorrow Already” and KT’s instrumental opus “The Golden Hour”. Think I’m kiddin’? I dare you to bump the three aforementioned albums in succession and tell me you’re not absolutely blown away by the extra crisp production that fuels each respective release! I’m big on clarity, the simple things please me like being able to bump an album in the ride and it plays just as it did in the club. The bass knocks are crisp and each album, sonically, is heads and tails above everything that I’ve heard over the last few years…aside of Ill Poetic’s “The World Is Ours” and possibly Blue Scholars “Bayani”.
It is really a difficult task to differentiate a clear cut favorite amongst the three, but if you twisted my arm (not too much though) I’m gonna’ have to go with 14KT’s “The Golden Hour”. “Blown Away” is an understatement, when describing the feeling I get with each passing listen to KT’s phenomenal solo effort. What’s funny is that fellow LabTechs member Vaughan T is listed as one of my friends on MySpace, underneath Vaughan T’s “tag” it reads: “Now On & KT got classics”…a very accurate statement, I’d have to agree. First Buff punched us in the guts with “There’s Only One”, secondly it was Now On delivering an uppercut with “Tomorrow Already” and finally KT has delivered the final knock-out blow. And after diving deep into “…Only One” and “Tomorrow..”, I’d have to say that my anticipation meter for the release of KT’s album was at an all-time high. Matter of fact, amongst all the releases the goodness that has dropped over the last few months, I was looking forward to getting my hands “The Golden Hour” more so than any other album that has leaked this year.
Funny Story: When I was contacting the 30 or so respective artists for their “OK” to appear on the forthcoming “Preservation” mixtape, no one was more cordial or helpful then 14KT. I actually contacted KT stating that the biggest problem that I’d run into was deciding whether to include “The Inside” or “Miss U” (For Lost Loved Ones) on the compilation. Much to my pleasure, KT hit me back with “That’s easy…use em’ both!”. And while previewing the track listing for the mixtape, DJ Ragz (Jazz Addixx) was also “wowed” by KT’s production. After hearing both “Miss U” (For Lost Loved Ones) and “The Inside”, Ragz was emphatic: “Who is this KT cat, and WHY have I never heard of him….dude’s beats are AMAZING!!”. After serving as the “Soundtrack” to my anniversary vacation in Negril with my Wife, “The Golden Hour” is already “CLASSIC” status to me, with the Buff 1 and Now On albums both quickly approaching that same plateau…not trailing too far behind. From start to finish, the album plays as KT put it: “the soundtrack to his life”, and it’s easy to see why it has also served the same purpose in my life as well.
What I love most about “The Golden Hour” is that KT made “songs”, he didn’t just take the easy way out and compile a bunch of throwaway tracks that the Athletic Mic League may have shyed away from earlier, just for the sake of putting a solo album out. From the get-go, KT takes you on an emotional roller-coaster starting with the spacey, futuristic “The Waiting Room” (The Main Theme), which also happens to be my current “flavor of the week” from the album. Near the tracks ending the question is posed by a certain female: “In time..will I..survive or die?”, I don’t know but if this question is in reference to KT’s tenure as a thriving producer in Hip Hop the answer is simple…a resounding YES!! What’s crazy is that I’ve had this album since the day prior to it’s release (thanks KT!) but I haven’t really had ample to truly sit down and give this album it’s due propers, so when Beads of Kevin Nottingham.com beat me to his punch with his analysis of “The Golden Hour” I wanted to kick myself in the ass! Especially when Beads stated that “The Waiting Room”, “sounds like it was made specifically for Andre 3000″….damn! I share those same sentiments each time I listen to the track, and you can actually hear the Organized Noize influence in many of KT’s productions. Yet, don’t get it twisted KT’s beats truly have their own unique identity.
Of course, there’s also “Tick Tock Hustle” with it’s escalating bassline and sharp string plucks which supply the track with a bouncy, somewhat light-hearted, care free feel, but still remains hard and funky enough to make the hardest of the hardrock’s neck snap. Shortly thereafter KT dims the lights with “Trust Issues”, which clocking in at over 5 minutes is also the lengthiest track that appears on “The Golden Hour”. An emotional and heartfelt cut, “Trust Issues” truly showcases KT’s talent as a producer, proving that not everything he blesses has to be sonically infused and bass-laden to get the point across. The highlight of “The Golden Hour” is delivered in the form of the previously mentioned “Miss U”, this track is….for lack of better wording, CRAZY! Emotional and funky (yeah, you don’t see those two words together quite often, ehh?), “Miss U” has garnered more spins on my Ipod over the last two months than any other track has the whole YEAR! Finally, “Illustrious”, which could have just as easily been titled “Planet Rock 2K9″ due to it’s high BPMs and pulsing bass, serves as a pleasant departure from an extremely smooth flight. I mean, really I could sit here all day and rave about the greatness that is “The Golden Hour” but the turkey and sweet potato pie is callin’ me….Damn Tara!!(being it is Thanksgiving and all)
So in closing, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! In these turbulent times there still is soo much to be thankful for in this life. I mean, I’ve got my health, a beautiful wife, two amazing little girls…oh, and thank you 14KT or the genius that is “The Golden Hour”, Dilla would be proud!!
14 KT’s MySpace