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,
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 doesnt take much listening to
know youre 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...