Archive for the ‘Dudley Perkins’ Category

RE: “Talent”

April 30, 2007

Not only does Madlib make crazy beats (plenty of hot beats out there) but his willingness to experiment – to take an accepted sound, and totally flip it around, interpolating seemingly incongruent samples with synths, and singers who can’t really sing – some how, through Madlib’s ears, sounds colorful and deep.

Kyle’s certainly right in that Madlib isn’t easily digested to all listeners. But I think across his discography, his respect and knowledge of music are evident – and I think it’s those qualities that make this project, and others, e.g. Quas, YNQ, brilliant. When I listen to much of his work, I don’t hear arrogance; but I do hear somebody who has the freedom to do as he wishes with his sound, and it is refreshing to hear an artist utilize the full spectrum of his artistic freedom. As it is, Dudley Perkins is a nice fit for Madlib’s production because his sound and style are as incongruent as some of the other ingredients Madlib uses…

You won’t find too many bigger Madlib advocates than me. He’s one of those rare contemporary musicians that is timeless, in that, you could take him and place him in any decade be it 20’s, 40’s, or 60’s (or anywhere in between) and he’d make hot shit. He’s got that ear and desire to push music boundaries, a la John Coltrane. Some jazz critics (back late 50’s) suggested that Coltrane was too unbridled and his sound was incongruent; he was constantly experimenting with sounds, e.g. trying different reeds, biting on them, etc.

In the words of Miles Davis (of John Coltrane), Madlib’s also a “bad mother fucker.”

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Really Feeling “Solitude”

April 27, 2007

I’ve been singing DP’s “Solitude” to myself all week:

“Do you know… the way to my home?”

“Lost and I’m all alone… Lost and I’m all alone…”

“Home is where the heart is… Home is where the heart is…”

The track has a cinematic quality to it, and I really like what Madlib did with it musically. Like many Madlib samples, it’s really hard to figure out where he got the sample, but it sounds like the main sample could be from a kung-fu movie. And there’s these horn samples punching in and out in a subtle way, but enough to preserve their blaxploitation film sound. Lots of movie-ness here.

Like many other places on the album, DP’s vocals are really unstructured, and I like it. He starts out just talking, then slowly and seemingly spontaneously breaks into song (I would go as far as to call it “impromptu“). I also like the chant-like quality of the song; it’s consonant with themes of spirituality he hits on at the beginning of the track. The chanting just adds to its catchy-ness. You’ll be humming it all day. Good track.

PS: I suppose that the lyrics have extra resonance for me, given my current move back home for the summer. The shit is catchy nonetheless, peep it.

“Talent”

April 26, 2007

Dudley Perkins can’t sing.

With that being said, the fact that he even endeavored to make an R&B album I think is worthy of some discussion discussion here.

It’s my view that singing talent isn’t a prerequisite to making great music. Disclaimer: the farther we get from my genre of choice–hip hop–my expertise dwindles. But nevertheless, I suspect that like most people of my generation, I listen to many different types of music.

That brings me to Bob Dylan. Dylan was an artist of many talents, but clearly, he did not possess what is traditionally considered a great singing voice. His talents were elsewhere. He had an amazing ability to convey a mood through the timbre of his voice and content of his lyrics, and the capacity to use that voice achieve these unorthodox, compelling melodies. Maybe this isn’t a perfect example, because Dylan could hold a note, but nevertheless, my point is simply that Dylan was able to make great music without what is the popular conception of a great singing voice.

Enter Dudley Perkins. Clearly, A Lil’ Light is not trying to be the next What’s Going On. DP and Madlib appear to intend their work together as a light-hearted musical experiment, one where Madlib can showcase his beats. DP is definitely able to achieve some unorthodox things with his falsetto, crackling, junkie voice.

If that characterization reminds you of another Madlib project–Quasimoto–you’re not alone. What the DP and Quas projects have in common with Dylan is that they are all trying to achieve some alternate musical goals; goals that are more aesthetic, and more tangential to the traditional goals of their respective genres.

The purposefully provocative question I pose to Pete is whether this approach by Madlib could be called arrogant. That is, I ask do these projects suggest that Mablib thinks his shit is so dope that he can make even the worst singer sound good?

Or does Mablib just not take his music seriously enough to think about these kinds of things? You get the impression that he genuinely does it for the fun of it; and if DP comes into the studio on some clownin’ shit, and Mablib’s feeling it, they’ll throw it on wax. Is there something wrong with that?

While I find this aspect of Madlib’s approach very interesting, I know that this lack of seriousness can turn off more traditional hip-hop heads.

Moreover, at one time or another, all of us express a wish that a favorite artist would do something differently or stop doing something else. So for my second question, I ask whether any fan is justified in asking why Madlib would waste his time and some crazy-ass beats with the Dudley Perkins projects?

DP’s “Money”

April 14, 2007

Classic Madlib production: funky bassline, simple drums, and lots of interpolating. I’m not sure who is directing this, but Stones Throw videos are becoming as recognizable as a Madlib beat…

Speaking of Madib…if you head over to here, you can read about Madlib & Karriem Riggins teaming up to form The Supreme Team; their track “Volta Por Cima” is featured on the elusive Stones Throw Hella International box set, as is the dope, dope Madlib remix to Dilla’s “The $,” which you can download for free from Stones Throw here.

“Sometimes all you need to get by is a girlie…”

April 10, 2007

Great advice from Dudley Perkins on “Washedbrainsyndrome;” and the album is full of similar life lessons (to be taken lightly I assure you). This track is a good representative of A Lil Light’s sound – casually paced (reminds me of a Dr. Dre beat in slow motion), interesting takes on recycled hip hop topics, and catchy hooks (or lack thereof, I haven’t figured it out yet). “Washedbrainsyndrome” is the classic tale of being brainwashed by a girl; and while I’m not a weed smoker, I’m sure it doubles as a classic tale of being brainwashed by weed – and the troubles that girls (or weed) will get a guy into (similar to Mobb Deep’s “Drink Away the Pain”).

I really like DP’s casual, conversational, and introspective style. This is particularly seen on tracks like “Falling,” “Little Black Boy,” & “Solitude.” The former was included on the Stones Throw: 10 Years compilation and works as a Dudley’s eye- & mind-view of the world around him, physical and abstract. It’s tracks like this that give the impression that Madlib would conjure up a beat and play it while DP connected thoughts together; very impromptu.

“Solitude” is kind of like “Falling” Part II: He ponders knowledge and God, two themes that are seen later in the album (“Forevaendless” & “Lord’s Prayer”) as well on his 2006 follow-up, Expressions (2012 A.U.).

Dudley Perkins – “A Lil’ Light”

April 7, 2007

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Dudley Perkins – A Lil’ Light
Stones Throw (2003)

Reflecting on some of the points that Kyle & I have made about hip hop since TT’s inception, I think Dudley Perkin’s A Lil’ Light is a good follow up; at the very least, it works as an effective contrast to some of the points we made about hip hop as an increasingly image-oriented genre. Hence, I chose A Lil’ Light for a few reasons:

1) Madlib production – Other than Dilla, there a few producers I respect more than Madlib. His sound is hard to sum up – funk & jazz samples; crazy drums; synth-[insert instrument]; and just when you think you figured him out, he’s using live instruments, simultaneously with samples. For some, his sound is an acquired taste (e.g. YNQ); while projects like Lootpack’s Soundpieces: Da Antidote! are palatable upon one listen. Needless to say, Madlib (and his numerous aliases) know music.

2) Dudley Perkins – I got into DP/Declaime only within the previous 2 or so years. I got to the point where I needed as much Madlib as I could get so as I worked my way through his production credits (in no particular order), I got to Declaime’s Andsoitisaid (which I almost picked for this selection). Declaime (Dudley’s emcee alias) is unorthodox, but it’s this quality that makes him perfect for Madlib beats. His voice quality reminds me of Ol’ Dirty Bastard if he could carry a note (which isn’t saying much because Dudley can’t really carry a note himself). It’s his seeming stream-of-consciousness flow that really catches my ear and compliments Madlib’s equally free association-esque production.

3) The marriage of Madlib’s production and Dudley’s delivery and subject matter – On the surface, it sounds like Dudley is as times piecing random thoughts together (a la MF Doom). Enhanced with the production, the album dips into cacophonous abstraction: with synthesized voices; interrupted falsetto chords; talks of prophesy. But then it starts to sound normal…