Union, Analogtronics

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 01.31.12 in Reviews
Fat, squelching basslines and airy, glimmering melodies

Parisian producers OJ and Gold are driven by a shared aesthetic, one in which the more bohemian and blunted corners of North American independent hip-hop have been steeped for more than a decade. It’s an intersection of ’70s/’80s vintage synths and clipped, sawed-off drum breaks, an approach that’s spanned 21st-century music from the Soulquarians to Dam-Funk. Analogtronics does its best to prove its creators’ love for that sound with a roster of indie-rap MCs that work well over it. The reliable juxtaposition of fat, squelching basslines and airy, glimmering melodies over digital-organic Dilla-style snares provides a comfortable backdrop for Detroiters Elzhi (“Wings”) and Guilty Simpson (“Digital Delight”), not to mention more Eastward vets like Talib Kweli (the Syl Johnson-sweetened “Time Leak”) and MF Doom (the Putney Swope-referencing “Coco Mango”). But it’s still melodic enough to double for fine R&B, anchored by fellow Parisians like Rachel Claudio (“Song for Janasa”) and Mani Hoffman (“Baby Mama”). And in instrumentals like the Hancockian “Blue Wave” and the Zapp-on-shrooms “Space B-Boy,” their sense of faithful yet playful fusion/funk progression is all the voice they need.