HEAVY STARCH: DIRTY ART CLUB Saturday 15 September, 2012

Dirty Art Club want to have a party in your head and if you’ve any sense you’ll let the musical genii have at it.

You may, or may not, have recently read that I very much love ‘Hexes’ by Dirty Art Club. When I bought hexes I also bought an earlier and fuller of length release by Dirty Art Club, namely ‘Heavy Starch’. I was so blown away by ‘Hexes’ that I gave ‘Heavy Starch’ short shrift and dismissed it as a just another Dilla/Shadow wannabe. Well, I certainly feel foolish now. ‘Heavy Starch’ is actually even better than ‘Hexes’. Dirty Art Club probably don’t want me to say that I prefer an earlier work but I can’t help it. ‘Heavy Starch’ is far superior to the, pretty fucking excellent, ‘Hexes’.

I decided that I should probably give it more of chance given how much I adore ‘Hexes’. I listened to it during a couple of commutes and I was hooked. Be warned. This album is addictive. It’s full of little hooks and refrains that will confuse your hypothalamus to such a degree that it’ll be writing them as new, old AND future memories.

As an album it displays an awareness of the different ages of hip hop production that you don’t often hear without it actually being Dilla or Madlib that you’re listening to. It’s also far more musical than most artists that have been influenced by the towering gods of hip hop production. The melodies are more complex than you would normally hear and the breadth of musical spectrum that is encompassed within the twenty three tracks is greater than you’d expect. It ranges from hip hop to jazz to IDM to rock to soul to funk to psychedelia without ever missing a beat. It’s worth keeping an ear out for some very familiar melodies being treated in a most unfamiliar way. I haven’t spent the time to sit and work out what all of them are yet as I’m too busy enjoying the flow and even if I had I wouldn’t ruin the fun of working them out for yourself.

My only criticism, if you can call it that, is that I wonder what the hell is going on in ‘American Death Express’. There seem to be beats out of synch in the background of the main track. It’s the same sound as when your crossfader starts to pack up. Maybe it’s intentional but I don’t like it.

Dirty Art Club get extra points for producing an album that flows wonderfully. It’s pacing and emotional peaks and troughs make it an extremely pleasant musical journey. It’s one of those albums that no sooner has it finished then you want to start it all over again. That’s pretty rare for me and it’s fitting pay off for the obvious love and care that has gone into crafting this album. It’s like a hip hop hug and I love hugs.

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