Friday, August 31, 2007

The Beat Konducta

I was challenged by a friend to expand my musical horizons and try to incorporate more genres and tastes that aren't my normal "Go To" selections. With that being said, I spun the brand new offering from Beat Konducta a.k.a Madlib entitled Beat Konducta in India Vol. 3-4 released on Stones Throw Records. Madlib has so many aliases it's sometimes hard to keep track, but he has a distinct production style that carries across all of them so a listener never feels too lost or confused. I was first introduced to Madlib thanks to his brilliant collaboration with MF Doom on Madvillainy. He's one of the most prolific producers working today, along with being one of hip-hop's most well respected producers. Madlib has produced beats for the likes of Ghostface, Talib Kweli, to the late J Dilla.

India uses samples and dialog from Bollywood to create an album that juxtaposes conventional Indian musical themes of rag and tal (melody and rhythm) with Madlib's production style of deep bass drums, claps, cymbals, et al. Overall, the album ebbs and flows from one track to the next since most are between 1-2 minutes in length. Madlib displays a meticulous attention to detail throughout the album's hour of music and finds delight in the minutia. What makes the album "sound Indian" are the samples. Since traditional Indian music uses different scales than Western music, it creates different harmonies which are foreign to our ears. This is an album supremely crafted from start to finish and would be an interesting soundtrack to a Bollywood movie. The details and layers of sound Madlib uses are executed with a deft touch and precision that exemplifies why he is rising to the top of the class in the world of hip-hop production. Some tracks stand out more than others and are better suited to standing alone outside the context of the album. Hope you enjoy the few I've picked out.

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