Nick Nack, Oddcomplex, Deepspace5 Unique, and Assasyn Dynasty
Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., Sept. 2, 2005
Broken (Extensive Research)
Padded Wall Parade Route (Landmine)
Unique, Just Like Everyone Else (GTD)
The Classified Mix Tape (Culture Sound)
Designed as a resource for turntablists, NickNack's latest record offers the utility of skipless drums and vocal phrases for those with a fetish for scratching. Stripping instrumental tracks from 2004's Improving Silence to their bare essence, percussion loops and basslines provided by Yoggie and D-Madness meander as they motivate. Beginning at 68 beats per minute, building to a peak of 130 bpm, and then collapsing upon itself back down to 68 bpm, Broken's centerpiece, "Tempo Track," enables DJs to master cuts executed amid dramatic fluctuation. "Simultaneously brain boxing with tremendous moxie," Austin's Oddcomplex fragments rap into a series of parallel universes. Imploding dissonant beats conjured by Quite (the Contrary), Odd's avant-garde lyricism adorns Padded Wall Parade Route with the improvisational license of a free-jazz eccentric. As hip-hop vagabonds travel the country they inevitably encounter like-minded individuals just as hellbent as themselves when it comes to soulful expression. The result of this circumstantial networking has been the formation of interstate crews who come together either by the flesh or by Internet to record. One such collective is Deepspace5, a 10-member team comprised of artists hailing from Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, and Texas. Austin resident Casey the Beat Rabbi shares production credits with Dallas' Sivion on the exploratory yet cohesive Unique, Just Like Everyone Else. San Antonio-based Assasyn Dynasty assembles cohorts from Virginia, New Mexico, California, and Texas as their refreshing take on rap's lingering NYC-centricity expands the traditional boom-bap repertoire. By way of The Classified Mix Tape, Jaz Infinite places himself right up there with the Are of K-Otix and S1 of Strange Fruit Project among the Lone Star State's most magnificent underground producers.
(NickNack; Deepspace5; Assasyn Dynasty)