The beat-makers and rhyme-sayers at London's Warp Records certainly are a flexible lot -- forcing the reluctant relationship between hip-hop and electronica is their reason for being. Or maybe they're just some kooky sons of bitches. After all, both ambient beat junkie Aphex Twin and the indie-film community's equivalent to Russell Crowe -- Vincent Gallo -- are in the stable.
Leading the charge to town is their most valuable playa, Beans, with his solo debut, Tomorrow Right Now. Fresh from breaking free from his East Coast crew Anti-Pop Consortium, the Mohawked MC spills his pungent flow over his own computer-programmed configurations, making many of the songs sound like angry musings from a fed-up iMac.
Featuring Beans, Prefuse 73, Boom Bip, A Grape Dope and Lights Out On
SMOM, 5804 Canal
Beats speak louder than words at the Warp factory, which leads us into the latest release from increasingly hyped-up crate-digger Prefuse 73. With the cut-and-paste deconstructionist tone he brought to his Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives, Prefuse has already been compared to DJ Shadow. He continues in that vein with One-Word Extinguisher, melding digitized blips with old-school breaks. Although his stuff isn't quite up there with the exemplary dark works of Shadow, Prefuse's buoyant beat-tripping is still worth a listen.
Also now on the tour are Ohio sampler Boom Bip -- whose noisy, nervy collage Seed to Sun begs comparison to DJ Spooky -- and A Grape Dope, which finds former Tortoise drummer John Herndon joining in on the aural madness. So hip-hop heads and techno geeks, unite! Sip a Red Bull or two, learn from one another's cultures and, if time permits, go halves on a baby.