Monday, 5 May 2008



Mike Ladd is a slick act in hip-hop.  There is something about his polished product that comes with the air of a fresh Apple item.  And that’s not intended as an insult.  This is your normal hectic hip-hop album, it is a heavily work emerging from a vast library of memories and sounds.  It’s a colourful patchwork offering succulent solution to temporary woe.

Downtempo in design, Nostalgialator is often a bombastic album filled with all kinds of heavy swag horn samples that feel plucked straight from a Lalo Schifrin chase scene.  There are no cuffs involved just a serious sense of sensual victory attached to so much win.

Originally from Boston, Ladd is a man of the world.  There is true maturity in his sound, one where the construct more represents a desire to groove than grapple.  The songs are intricately woven and display a vast knowledge of music and a wide appreciation in taste.  Rubbing shoulders with the Def Jux crew felt almost inevitable.

It doesn’t take long for things to burst into greatness as the bounding goodness of “Trouble Shot” with its smooth Curtis Mayfield gone hip-hop delivery coupled with funky bursts and huge hooks.  There is a groove attached to this feeling that holds both anticipation and pay off.  Later on “Learn To Fell” returns to Mayfield like motions now in a computerised fashion.

Things remain fun as “Housewives At Play” offers nice hype in smooth execution in its playful premise which reminds of Money Mark at his most plugged in.

All in all Nostalgialator is an album that swings between extremes as laidback riffs couple with more raucous items such as the heavy bounce of “Black Orientalist” and the outright hardcore punk of “Wild Out Day”.  Then both elements collide on the call back that is “Afrotastic”.

“Off To Mars” takes the album to a great place.  It makes me think of a missed one, a loved one, an absent opportunity.  With this song behind me I feel I could step right back into a life and turn it into soul.  It makes me want to fuck.  Dusty futuristic jazz will always have such an affect.

The blissed out poetry of “How Electricity Really Works” takes the album to another place with an Amiri Baraka vibe and finger pointing factor.  This is optimum literature, Gil-Scott Heron had he not broke.

Something was really accomplished with this record.

Thesaurus moment: deliberate.

No comments: