VA: Domestic Blend Vol. 1
Inner Current

Though some of Inner Current's artists hail from the California area (Take from Los Angeles, Glen Porter from Huntington Beach), there's something of an undeniably Brooklynesque character about its smoked blend of hip-hop, acoustic, Latin, and jazz musics. Launched by Inoel Miranda and RD Granados (the duo also releasing tracks under the name ILL Padre) in January of 2005, the label's artists deftly fuse multiple cultures' sounds into laid-back brilliance. Domestic Blend Vol. 1 provides eighteen prime opportunities to sample the label's deluxe mood music with cuts by old and new roster artists.

Underscored by gritty breaks, a piano and acoustic guitar trade haunting licks in Glen Porter's “Image of You,” a relatively simple yet potent cut that captures the essence of the Inner Current sound. Clearly a label star in the making, Porter contributes strong material elsewhere too (the slamming stutter-funk of “Prolong” and, egged on by its 'hopelessness' voice sample, the hallucinatory dirge “Memoirs”). Other artists supply arresting moments too, like the soulful chorus sweetly singing throughout Akello Uchenna's “Been So Good” and the snappy syncopations that propel Tsunchoo's “Stutsja.” A demonic tick-tock motif animates the faded pulse of Unknown Source's “Frowning” as woozy and distorted synths forecast an impending storm while a jazzy piano figure graces the delectably lazy flow of Milford Reynolds' “Lowe's Market.” Caveats? Only two: Empire State Instrumentals' repetitious “Dusty Rhodes” varies too little to justify its five-minute length, and ILL Padre's three cuts, as lovely as they are, will be familiar to the wise folks already in possession of Certified Latin Breaks Vol. 1. Minor points, though, as there's plenty of fabulous new material to dig into otherwise.

July 2006