VA: Signal Path

Two charcoal black slabs of vinyl dedicated to punchy instrumental hip-hoptronica by crate-diggers Inner Science, Vario, 2Tall, Dday One, Antti Szurawitzki, Dextah, Millimetrik, Block Barley, Kaliyuga Pro, and Enigmatical. The crackle of well-seasoned vinyl streams through much of the material, giving it that delectably dusty, old-school feel. Reminiscent of “Freeway Jam” on Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow, intricate jazz-fusion drum patterns power Tokyo-based Inner Science's beat-heavy overture “Bright Note,” and, after that, the good times just keep on coming: Vario brings a spicy melodic dimension to “Krylo's Tune” by merging cannonading breaks and throbbing bass rumble with a twanging, opium-scented Eastern riff; swirling harps and flutes bring 2Tall's (Londoner Jim Coles) “Garden Child” into the sunlight to be roasted by skipping breaks; and turntable swizzles and a funky lope boost Block Barley's “White Horse.” Dextah drenches “I Can't Handle Dischord” in shoegaze and synth-funk with a skanky groove, while “Un Lent Procédé De Dégradation” by Montreal-based Millimetrik oozes seductive instrumental hip-hop flow. On top of all that, there's Dday One's jubilant “It's Never Enough,” Enigmatical's dreamy “The Exceeded State,” plus the surging jazz-house flow of Antti Szurawitzki's “Primitiivinen Teos.” Though the tracks are spread across two discs, none of them overstay their welcome but commendably make their point and then step aside.

December 2007