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Ammoncontact - New Birth


Review: Jack Foley

JUST six months after releasing their One In An Infinity of Ways LP, the prolific Ammoncontact return with a mini-album, titled New Birth.

The minimalistic Los Angelinos pride themselves on being able to deliver atmospheric, predominantly instrumental and predominantly hip-hop based music that exists on a higher plane to most commercial fare.

As such, New Birth continues the trend, combining some funky, groove-based beats and blips with a dash of cosmic Black Power politics, a love of jazz and enough bass to 'flatten planets'.

The ensuing 34 minutes of 'instrumental hip-hop' is an effortessly laidback affair that's perfect just for chilling out to.

Omniverses 1 and 2, for instance, provide a great example of Carlos Nino's hybrid production style, fusing drum machine programming, sampling, live instrumentation and voices to create a deeply atmospheric but nicely laidback vibe that eases you into the album.

Part one is quickly followed by Naeem (named after Fabian Ammon's new son), a clear-eyed afro-funk shuffler that lays down some groovy rhythms and an urgent bassline that's designed to get your feet tapping along with it (while nodding along in appreciation).

The funky vibe is continued into Futuro, a classic cut-em-up, sample-chop construction from the duo that actually doesn't work as effectively as its predecessors.

But the shuffle-laden drums of A Satellite's Return, with its cinematic backdrop, quickly bring the LP back on track, featuring some urgent beats and plenty of sample-chopping. It kind of provokes comparisons with some of Mr Scruff's work, while creating a soundscape that is distinctly LA-based.

The rest of the tracks fail to live up to the high standards of those I've picked out, but still deliver enough style to be worthy of a place in the record collections of genuine Ninja Tune followers.

My People, for instance, fuses hip-hop in its purest form (courtesy of some heavyweight political vocals from Lil Sci, of Scienz of Life) with a marimba-driven beat, while another of Nino's side projects, the big band Build An Ark, ensure that the final track, Temple Jam, ends the mini-album on a moody vibe.

New Birth can't quite match the overall quality that was evident on One In An Infinity of Ways (perhaps because it arrived too soon), but it's still a notable effort from one of the most interesting acts on LA's alternative scene.

The atmospheric mix of styles is certain to appeal to fans of hip-hop and jazz who fancy hearing them mixed up to create something different from the norm.

Track listing:
1. Omniverses 1
2. Naeem
3. Futuro
4. It Started As A Remix For Elvin
5. A Satellite's Return
6. New Birth
7. Omniverses 2
8. My People
9. Temple Jam

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