Ten Million Sounds: Still
Ten Million Sounds

Here's a project that's easy to get behind. Ten Million Sounds has assembled a twelve-track compilation of instrumental boom-bap and hip-hop that's being made available as a name-your-price release; even better, 100% of the proceeds are being donated to Action Against Hunger, a charity dedicated “to sav(ing) the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.” So as you get deep into the head-nod, you also can feel good about the contribution you've made and count your blessings as you reflect on the considerable challenges endured by others through no fault of their own.

Still, the label's third compilation, gets its swoon on from the opening track, “1992,” served up by A Sol Mechanic as a sultry slice of sunkissed downtempo funk, all faded voices, crunchy beats, and Rhodes sprinkles. It's hardly the only choice moment on the release: the vibe set by A Sol Mechanic is perpetuated by Handbook on the crackle-drenched “Satin Skin” and Jimmy Whoo on the even sultrier “Aquarama”; reminiscent of a D-Day One production, Aether's “Makeshift Sanctuary” presents a frothy, MPC-styled swirl of booming beats, strings, and voices; and with its time-lagged beats and dusty piano melodies, Vanilla's “Beyond” is one of those tasty Dilla-fied jams beloved by instrumental hip-hop heads everywhere. Peel back the funky beat surface and voice edits of A.M. Architect's “The Bull of Heaven” and you just might find yourself genuinely moved by its plaintive melodic heart, and the forty-one-minute collection also includes cuts by Freddie Joachim, snacs, and Croup that amply reward one's attention. As pleasurable as the music is, it's Ten Million Sounds that should be commended for directing its energies so magnanimously in support of a laudable cause.

October 2015