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Introducing Blockhead - the new DJ Shadow?



Story: Jack Foley

YOU have a lot to live up to when being compared to the next DJ Shadow or RJD2, but New York-based DJ, Blockhead, looks set to fit into this groove in easy fashion!

He releases his debut EP, Insomniac Olympics, on December 1 and the four tracks contained within provide a compelling reason why the artist is so highly-rated.

But while the music speaks for itself (with its enticing blend of moody beats, quirky scratches and well-realised samples) a quick look at the CV ought to confirm why Blockhead is well-equipped to live up to the tags being bestowed upon him.

Blockhead grew up in downtown New York City.

The son of an artist, he quickly found his passion was for music, and was a fan of a whole range of sounds, especially hip-hop.

As a result, Blockhead steadily built a tremendous collection of tapes and, later, CDs from innumerable artists.

After a brief stint as a rapper, he realized his calling was behind the boards and not on the mic, and from there he began to produce beats.

Since making that decision, he's been kept pretty busy.

Blockhead produced nine tracks on Aesop Rock's critically-acclaimed album, Labor Days.

And he also produced half the tracks on Aesop's follow up EP, Daylight.

Blockhead has also been working with other indie giants, such as Slug of Atmosphere, Murs, Mike Ladd and SA Smash.

He also found time to complete a break beat album, entitled Blockhead's Broke Beats, with 10 hard-hitting instrumental tracks, which was released on Mush Records, the US home of cLOUDDEAD.

And just to prove that he ain't all about art-rap, Blockhead produced two tracks on the newly crowned Skribble Jam Battle Champ, MacLethal's full-length album.

Oh, and the guy does comedy, too. He's a member of the Party Fun Action Committee, who's hip-hop/comedy debut album was recently released on the legendary Def Jux.

Now signed to the hip Ninja Tune label, Blockhead is set to unleash his exquisite, emotional instrumental hip hop to the masses, paving the way for the debut album in March next year.

From when the bass kicks in early in Insomniac Olympics, through the elegaic strings of Carnivores Unite, on into the blues harp and hook of A New Day, into the War Pigs-styled bass of Triptych Part 3, it doesn’t take much listening to know you’re dealing with something pretty special.

According to the experts at Ninja, 'there are a very few producers working in hip hop, or its related European disciplines, who can take a tune and keep developing it over the space of a song, let alone distill so much emotion into every note, making it melancholy and strangely uplifting all at the same time'.

We would urge you to check out what we mean...

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