Music Reviews

Artist: Phase Conductor (@)
Title: Mostly Crew
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
The illbient genre was described as where ambient goes to school and gets shot, whereas Phase Conductor’s Mostly Crew is hip hop riddled with bullet holes, laying in the gutter while experiencing flashbacks of beats and rhymes before curtains. Maybe hip hop smoked too many dutches before getting rained on because a lot of these tracks are pitch shifted like listening to vocalists through a haze of Tylenol four’s. Mostly Crew is a mish mash of hip hop instrumentals and vocal fragments that are less about blending than veering into one another with the abruptness of a radio tuner changing stations. Think Madlib and J-Dilla, but rather than sourcing funk and soul, Phase Conductor sources the hip hop. Story goes that Phase Conductor producer Mike “Beef Terminal” Matheson bought a second-hand four track cassette recorder and found a Motley Crue tape still inside. Somewhat serendipitously, Matheson decided to record over it and some of those abrupt flashes of glam rock styles are actually sounds of the Crue. All these elements in tandem seem like this must be a train wreck of an album, but somehow, it works. This is because Matheson is a decades practicing beatsman who cultivated a casual mastery where imperfections and accidents are deftly integrated with the planned moments and both equally welcome. The emotions here shift from introspective instrumental hip hop that recalls DJ Cam to more kinetic old-school rhymers spittin’ serious flow. At 23 minutes, Mostly Crue is woefully short, but has all the surprising charm of digging out a sun-faded cassette tape lodged in a car dashboard window from ‘before-when’, then popped in the player for some warbly beat-junkie Zen.

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