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Trav’s Picks for Q1 of 2011: Instrumental Albums

by Travis on April 12, 2011

What, who the fuck is this up on Bloggerhouse? It is I, the T to the R to the AV. Yes boys and girls, it’s been a quick while since I sat down and wrote anything out, or hell even posted for that matter. But your favorite blogger that you forgot about six months ago is back with vengeance. Where have I been? As the crackhead on the corner would say, I’ve been around. Between a busy *ahem* social life, training for my first half marathon that is coming up this weekend, and the usual first quarter blahs where I catch up on shit I might have missed last year, old school hip hop that I haven’t heard for awhile, and just straight up listening to music other than hip hop, my writing and listening has tailed off quite a bit for what is usually the slowest part of the year musically. That’s not to say there hasn’t been shit I’ve been listening to, nor has it been particularity a bad start to the year in any means. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been a little pickier on what I’ve been checking for, but I’ve got a good staple of albums and EPs I’ve been listening to this year. Not a wide range of music, but the stuff I have checked for has been rather satisfying.

Anyway, for the next few days (or weeks, depending on my time and motivation) I’ll be covering some of my favorite releases for the first quarter of 2011 in EPs, instrumental albums and full fledged projects. As I said, my range of material I’ve listened to is a lot less than it has been in previous first quarters, but I’m still listening to more than probably the average person, in between the soul, funk, Brazilian Tropicalia, or pysch rock that has also found it’s way on my iPod in January, February and March.

Today, we divulge my Top Five favorite instrumental projects for the first quarter. If your favorite is not on this list and was released (or hell, even leaked) between January 1st and March 31st, then let me know, chances are I haven’t heard it. Like I said, I’ve been pickier than usual this year on what I throw on the iPod. If it isn’t someone I know or have heard of before or isn’t suggested by one of my BH brethren, chances are I probably skipped over it, but I’m not beyond not listening to something on the strength of a recommendation.


5. taeOneA Nocturne (Free Download) (Preview Album here)

I’ve mentioned taeOne numerous times on WYDU/Bloggerhouse over the past few years. He is known for his work in the group Midnight Specialists and with the New York Rhyme Exchange. I could have sworn I have did a spotlight on this cat, but for some reason can’t find it in the archives, proof that I’ve written more posts that I’ve forgotten about than your favorite blogger has WRITTEN total posts (I kid, I kid). This NYC producer is a master at that dark and dingy sound, that sound that makes you swear can smell the mildew that would be found in a musty basement when you put the headphones on for his first (?) instrumental project, A Nocturne. If you like those dark sounds, songs like the speaker rattling “Ovaltine” should arouse you’re hunger for bottom heavy bass loops.


4. The Doppelgangaz - Beats For Brothels Vol. 1 (Click for Buy Links)

Eric hipped me onto The Doppelgangaz last year. Admittedly I didn’t pay enough attention. Beats for Brothels is, well what us 30 something hip hop heads dream about when we think of golden age beats. From the get go, this instrumental project provides the type of music I wish was released in ’94 so I could hear what Lord Finesse, Grand Puba, or Big L would have sounded like on this in their prime. Again, it’s rather deep and bottom heavy, but to me, that’s what quality hip hop should sound like. It’s beats and music like this that keeps my interest alive and well in hip hop. While we’re at it, check out their first single from their upcoming Lone Shark release, “The Dopple Gospel”.


3. Sinitus Tempo - Soul Eater EP (Buy/Preview Link) BUY IT! It’s only a buck!

Let me start off by saying, any of these top three could be my favorite by the end of the year and it would be a good year. They change on a weekly basis so far. Sinitus Tempo of course has been my own personal vendetta of pushing his music on anyone that has a set of ear drums. This Bloggerhouse favorite, along with his partner Obii Say, dropped one of the best albums of the year in the form of Vinyl Proxy 1965. Since that release early in 2010, Sinitus has been busy on his instrumental game, dropping numerous projects, all without any sort of tail off in terms of quality. To start of 2011 right, he dropped the Soul Eater EP, which is part of his Anime dedication series, which admittedly I know nothing about, but hey, the music is dope! Also be sure to check his latest release, Abstrakt Mindz Thinc Ulike, which is on par with the rest of his steadily increasingly dope catalog.

2. Apollo Brown - Clouds (Buy Link)

Yes Bloggerhouse, and when I say Bloggerhouse, I mean all three of us, Eric, Dart and myself, have been championing Detroit producer Apollo Brown like it’s nobody’s business. Because quite frankly and I’m speaking for solely myself here, he is one of, if not the best producers to blow up on the scene in the past couple of years. He was my choice for best producer last year, with his own project, The Left album, and his album with Boog Brown, no one was touching Apollo. This year, Apollo puts his timbo boot down even tighter on all competitors as he drops the instrumental beauty, Clouds. The album actually sees Apollo changing up his trademark sound of hard hitting drums, crisp horns, and that good ole Motown sound. Instead we find a slower tempo, a mellower vibe and bit more use of melody as Apollo Brown shows his versatility. Don’t worry though, because the change is definitely not a disappointment in any means, in fact I have a greater respect for Apollo Brown after hearing this beautiful album. He’s not the leader of the new school for nothing folks.


1. ST/MiC – Solar March (Buy Link)

ST/MiC might have very well dropped the best piece of work from his long and illustrious career in the form of Solar March. In what is basically a tribute album the late Japanese producer, Nujabes, MiC brings some of the greatest beats/songs that I’ve heard in awhile from him, or hell, any producer in sometime. Yes, MiC is heavily down with Bloggerhouse and is an integral part of our weekly Scrunchface Show, but let me rest assure that his is no David Mays/Benzino type of shit going on here. When MiC first sent me a copy of Solar March and “No, Really, Listen” came blaring through my speakers with a luscious piano sample and a straight up ill guitar tweak, I was hooked. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was my worse enemy or my pops, I give credit where credit is due. “To The Heart” is a track that really needs to be on a movie soundtrack, the Dilla like (and I mean that in a good way) “Combinations” is fly like a 747 and “Devil Break” has MiC tweaking more pianos (showing the Nujabes influence) in a light ditty that makes this project have the same replay value and desires in the same way a great jazz album does. This is truly music you can pop in the CD player, the iPod, or whatever your poison and just vibe and chill out to.

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{ 1 comment }

toronto April 13, 2011 at 7:39 am

Ya gotta check Jansport J “save my soul” !!

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