Houston is definitely strong, and our music scene is one of the most giving in the nation. While we've already seen local artists such as Kyle Hubbard pledge their music sales toward Harvey relief efforts, left-of-center rapper Guilla has stepped up with an EP, featuring his talents as both producer and collaborator, which steers well clear from his usual hip-hop fare. On SauDaDes, the producer and rapper takes us further down the rabbit hole he's created in the past, proving he's equally solid a producer as he is a rapper. It's not hard to have your mind blown here as Guilla helps raise money for the Houston Food Bank in the process.
The tripped-out sounds of spacey instrumental track "Desperate Voices" make for an ideal opener, as Guilla quickly establishes that his compositions are as atmospheric as his mike skills. "Kissing You," the next song, features his mother, Angela Williams, on operatic vocals. From the jump, it's pretty obvious that talent flows like a stream in this family, complete with a piano track that sticks to your insides. The first banger of the release comes on a remix of "Revel" featuring the spectral vocals of Kay Weathers and these crazed horn stabs that sound like they're from another planet. This mix of the two alongside multiple beats makes for a track you'll probably find yourself placing on repeat.
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The second standout continues on "Alien," featuring Vicki Lynn of Houston's Black Kite, whose hauntingly powerful vocals dance atop a beat in a way fans of the dark electronica group may have never heard before. It's possibly the catchiest song on the release, as Lynn offers up a whole new version of her sound and Guilla's production creates a song you can't help but fall for. Next, a remix of Mojave Red's "Ur Already Gone" almost makes you want to split open a spliff and just stare at the stars. Guilla's feature slightly changes up the psych-rock sound the group has become known for, a gamble that pays off solidly.
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The EP closes out with the Guilla-produced crazed electronica of "Separation Anxiety," by NYC's Turbo Goth. Very much in line with the EP's supernatural vibe, the beat is in ways reminiscent of the Chicago dance scene; it's a definite attention-grabber and a great way to end such an ambitious release.
SauDaDes offers further evidence that Guilla will always do things his own way, and won't be pigeonholed as just another Houston-based rapper. Purchase the digital album here; all proceeds benefit the Houston Food Bank. Guilla will perform in person October 1 at Discovery Green, as part of the recently revived Canned Acoustica series. The all-ages show also features performances from Folk Family Revival, Another Run and The Boomtown Brass Band. It has doors at 5 p.m. and is free with a donated canned-food item.