“Doggumentary” is certainly an open portrayal of Snoop’s life, much like a documentary. However it seems more like a magnum opus incorporating all elements that he carries with him. From reggae and sing-jay elements with “Sumthin Like This Night” (Which features Gorillaz) to new wave synth music with “Boom” (which includes a T-pain feature that almost ruins the pristine sample from “Situation” by Yaz). Not to mention Snoop flexes his singing ability with Willy Nelson in their blues duet “Superman”. This album is chocked full of features by other amazing artists as well. From Bootsy Collins bringing back that real G-funk flavour, to E-40 and Young Jeezy completely going in on “My fucn house” and everyone in between including Kanye, Devin the Dude, Wiz Khalifa, John Legend and R. Kelly.
The production for “Doggumentary” is deep. Old school vibes that still seem relevant permeate every song. Excluding the obvious ventures in blues, reggae and new wave with certain songs, “Doggumentary” is the old Snoop [Doggy] Dogg style with a new take on G-funk.
Even the elements that are particularly new and fresh have a solid vibe of an old track. Perhaps that’s the specialty of Snoop having been doing his thing for so long. While he may dive into seemingly new genres the sound is distinctly Snoop and is always brought back to a familiar point.
Snoop’s last couple albums were less than stellar, which may dissuade some towards even listening to it. “Doggumentary” is clearly the result of learning from his mistakes. Snoop has overcome the learning curve of incorporating many different artists and styles with a vengeance. Simply put, “Doggumentary” is surprisingly great.
“Kitsune Parisien” is the newest compilation released by Kitsune Maison, a French record and fashion label. Kitsune Maison was founded in part by former Daft Punk manager and art director Gildas Loaec, whom along with street artist and night club baron Andre Saraiva selected the tunes for “Kitsune Parisien”. Kitsune Maison has become legendary since it’s creation in 2002, releasing such artists as: Bloc Party, La Roux, Wolfmother and Crystal Castles.
“Kitsune Parisien” seems to feel more like a series of mini-albums than one entity. To some that would insinuate the mixing wasn’t quite done properly to create the illusion of cohesion. However this is a sign of the amazing care in this compilation. As a collection of works by different artists, even if they’re similar in musical style, there’s likely going to be outliers. Japanese influence shines through in the form of a ‘wabi-sabi’ mixing style. Working with the differences rather than against them. This grants each song with not only its own distinct energy, but uses the boundaries of the songs themselves to create the flow of the album.
Destin is a Parisian duo; Louis and Alexandre. While it’s said they do everything together “Adelaide” is written and primarily the brain child of, Alexandre. Though sung in French, the inflection is infectious enough to entice even Anglo-phones into belting out some bastardized version of the lyrics.
With a chorus like an insidious jingle or a 90’s pop song “Shade of Doubt” does well to not become annoying while being catchy as hell. A young Parisian woman, Birkii has studied violin at the music concervatoire since she was 5 years old. This however is her venture into electronic music with a Casio SK1.
Yan Wagner’s style is elegant yet versatile. A Paris native turned NYC infatuant, he returned home to work on his forthcoming debut album, due out after this summer. Besides being very easy to get stuck in ones head “Recession Song” is perfectly orchestrated. Yan’s voice is accessible without being crappy, the production is effective and precise, not to mention the actual sounds and tones used seem to be conducive to head banging.
Housse De Racket, it has been said, is on a mission to write the ultimate song. With Golden Bug’s touch on the remix, “Chateau” is the closest approximation to that goal that seems to exist. It seems as though the sounds go to work directly on one’s central nervous system. At each moment enticing a reaction. “Chateau” will be included in Housse De Racket’s upcoming album this spring.
Jupiter, an English and French duo makes music in the studio and love in life. “Sake” is infectious as most songs on “Kitsune Parisien” are but perhaps with a more cross genre appeal, anyone could love this song.
Another Parisian duo, Logo is made up of Hughes and Thomas. Former students of Dauphine faculté and Penningen art school. “Hello.jpg” highlights the joy of the music creation process. With sounds being layered over one another into a crescendo as well as abrupt changes into eargasmic sounds it almost feels like one is creating the music in that moment
With a hook so catchy you’ll be singing it first time around. A beat so catchy you’ll be hard pressed not to dance like a lemur in heat. “Horrors of Love” will evoke a reaction. The members of Ryskee know one of the principal elements of a banger is a track’s inherent funkiness, and this one’s chocked full-o-funk.
Beautaucue, are not Parisian but rather from Caen. They’re two incredibly talented young men and ’92 generates, virtual infants in terms of French electro. “Behold” feels like the first time you go to a rave in an abandoned building. Almost a more refined and mature version of 90’s hardcore techno. All you need is a pacifier and white gloves then you’re set.
There’s something incredibly primal about “Glory”. Like waking up outside, realizing you have to find your way back home. Savauge a duo made up of Edouard and Pierre Allin, two Parisian men in their early twenties. Savauge explores new and unique ways to organize structures and sounds, which comes across greatly in this song.
The soul of a full band and the fun catchy vibe of disco, these two brothers set the tone of Y2K fervor with “1999”. Valley do a good job of luring you into a pulsating, hypnotic track with haunting vocals and a fun pop vibe. You will dance, you may even party like its nineteen ninety nine.
Exotica could look like a fat crusty old dock worker, and you would still imagine a beautiful slinking French cabaret dancer whenever you hear her voice. “Desorbitee” has some obligatory new wave and 80’s pop elements that can’t be ignored. My initial reaction was that it’s so retro it’s hip but after a few listens you’ll agree it’s more likely so hip it just happens to be retro.
“Meaning” is amazing because it tricks you into thinking its an acoustic track. Then once you hear some samples you think it will kick into full electronic bells and whistles from just piano and voice. Then you’re pleasantly surprised to find that there’s just the bare minimum of electrification it needed. Cascadeur, apart from playing the piano since he was 9 years old, and having an amazing ear for creating music, seems to go everywhere with a mask on. No one really knows who he is.
“Kitsune Parisien” no doubt will leave fans of previous Kitsune Maison compilations satisfied. As well as new fans interested and wanting more.
Oneirology is the study of dreams. The Cunninlynguists made this album no different. The progression is laid out like a dream, from the first track “Predormitum” (falling asleep) to “Hypnopomp” (waking up) and the last song “Embers”, representing recalling one’s dream.
While reminiscent of the Cunninlynguists’ last two releases, “Oneirology” is distinct. Conceptually, it is very different than their previous albums. It portrays a mass dream of humanity, projecting what the Cunninlynguists believe is important, through symbol and allusion. This is very refreshing, as many artists explore new avenues they seem to loose touch. However the Cunninlynguists carry on the consistency of already amazing work, even with new flavor.
The instrumentals for “Oneirology” are razor sharp. While they’re original, the samples are apt to induce nostalgia. Not over produced with a lot of bells and whistles, but every little sound bite and effect moves cogs in ones mind. Some of the most effective being the vocal samples in “Get Ignorant”. However those in “Murder” and “My Habit” are almost equally as stirring.
Most of the lyrics deliver an upper-cut of a punchline every other bar. Which becomes obvious after listening to “Predormitum”. As the first song it sets the tone of lyrical crescendo that permeates the rest of the album. The order of songs is keenly organized, drawing you in more and more until the very last one. “Darkness” being one of the most powerful tunes, is second. Leaving you defenseless against the need to listen to the rest of the album. Anna Wise’s feature on that song was not only soulful but necessary. As well as lacking any pretension that’s found in a lot of cross genre collaborations (at least ones contrived for commercial success). However, neglecting to mention Bianca Floyd’s oration in “Hypnopomp”, would be criminal. Her mix of stirring words and stern voice is incredibly moving. This isn’t to say the other artists featured aren’t worth mentioning but those two are exceptional.
To say this “Oneirology” is an alright album would be an understatement. Perhaps if you want to hear something like “Will Rap for Food” you’ll be slightly confused but not disappointed. The thoughtfulness, and the Cunninlynguists’ sense not to stray too far from what they know will please old and new fans alike.
Melrose seems to represent the more experimental elements of hip-pop (not a typo), layered with the humble and positive flavor of “internet hip-hop”. That’s not to say a style thats evolved exclusively from You-Tube and Myspace artists but rather music that’s about not taking your self so seriously. Melrose is reminiscent of works by Das Racist, Cool Kids, OFWGKTA and other artists that are about the fun they have with the music. However Melrose sorely lacks in the raw attitude the others have.
Clearly their intention was to create killer party jams, as the lyricism is a little on the light side. Which is fine, when raging one doesn’t want to be distracted from tail chasing or what have you by an incredibly complex rhyme no one can sing along to. However this is quite a departure for Murs in terms of lyrical story telling. I can only assume this is his take on more popy rap. Showing you how it should be done. At times it leaves you wondering if it should be done at all if Murs can’t lend a soulful charismatic vibe to it.
Some of the tracks, such as “We on Melrose,” “It’s No Surprise” and “Doin’ Me” might lure you into singing along after having heard it before. However really none of them jog your ear first time around. In fact as an entire album it’s almost annoying to listen all the way through. Then again this is the age of picking and choosing what tracks you wish to listen to and perhaps more than a few on this album are just songs made for the sake of making songs.
Terrace definitely comes heavy on the instrumentals. He uses his whole repetoire of eargasm-inducing twinkles, claps and booming bass kicks to produce sincerely banging beats. So sincerely banging in fact I wish this was an entirely instrumental release. Perhaps with Murs doing some vocal samples. That being said Terrace’s lyricism, even for a producer, is distinctly lacking. His delivery of lines such as “I say hi, then she says hi, then I get her number because I’m so fly” (from “We on Melrose”) leaves one feeling nostalgic for the sound of nails on a chalk board. The possibility that such a line was supposed to come off as ironic or even catchy is totally moot when one doesn’t deliver it with the proper gusto.
Perhaps if you were the president of Murs’ fan club you’d want to pick this up. However chances are even as a conventional fan of Murs you’ll probably be disappointed. Especially if you’re expecting lyrics that are anything more than filling out the sound of the track.