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Entries in nick hook (3)

Sunday
Dec102017

DJ Earl & Nick Hook: '50 Backwoods'

50 Backwoods is more than just a title, it's a glimpse at what it took to make this record.  Nick Hook and DJ Earl joined forces in Hook's Brooklyn studio to craft a record that simply couldn't happen any other way.  The influence of the late DJ Rashad is felt throughout the world of music, but this record is one that lives and breathes that vibrant, energetic sound.  Completed in the span of a week, this dedicated duo gives to the world an album of limitless positive energy.

The album opens with 'Calculate', and immediately it's clear this album is something special.  It's opening message is one of presence.  It's quite evident that Nick and Earl employed this technique in making the album, but they are also inviting their listeners to be present.  This idea goes beyond just the experience of listening to the album, as that thought will linger long after the record ends.  Where it begins with hazy synthesizers, and the emphasis on feeling over thinking, and how the concept of division forms itself in our everyday thoughts.  It's also one of a few tracks that feature DJ Earl on vocals.

Putting an innovative footwork producer in the studio with a multi-instrumentalist/synth wizard is like combining chemical elements.  There are parts that sound like clearly like what we've come to know and love from Hook and Earl, and yet there are many parts that feel like an improbable yet beautiful reaction to that combination of influences, skills, and two unique visions.  'I'm Smokin' features Jacks on vocals, and instantly evokes dancehall vibes, and shows the versatility of this record.  It's a club smash that follows an introspective, meditative track, and no one else could do it like this.

'Energy' is a calm, confident one, and it follows 'I'm Smokin' perfectly.  It opens with the line 'I'm trying to get my mind right...' something that a great many of us can relate to.  The song embraces an effort that can seem impossible, and yet grows all the more important in our unpredictable era.  The tempo is laidback in comparision to DJ Earl's footwork tunes, but the feeling is very much present.  It plays like a mantra one could embrace during the calm before the storm.

With 'Hook Chop' the duo bring Wiki into the studio, and the beat is reminiscent of classic hip hop in more ways than one.  The tune bridges the gap between generations of rappers and producers by combining musical elements from the golden age, as well as the present and future.  Wiki thrives on this one, as few rappers could.  That chill sound is followed by 'We The People' with Melo-X on the mic.  Backed by unpredictable percussion Melo-X speaks of God, a presence found through our connections to one another.  The track is one of the wildest we've heard in a long time, with evolving effects on Melo-X' voice and the music behind his powerful voice.

'Mood Right Now' opens with a synthesizer, a cough, some delay, and Nick Hook's beautifully simple guitar playing.  It's one of the singles from the album, and it's also become iconic of the unbridled creativity, and positivity you'll find on this album.  While it doesn't feel like "happy" music, this record possesses a balanced optimism that it's creators have captured and shared with each and everyone of us.  'Mood Right Now' may have become a meme, a frequent Instagram caption, and yet few can say they share that mood so honestly as DJ Earl and Nick Hook on this song.

50 Backwoods winds down with 'Liberate' and 'Alice', and after your first complete, focused listen you'll want to keep this 27 minute record on repeat.  As Henri Matisse said 'Creativity takes courage...', and with that in mind this effort by DJ Earl and Nick Hook is heroic.  Listen closely to 'Liberate' and 'We The People' and see what we mean, turn up 'Mood Right Now' or 'Calculate' and you'll be able to feel that by putting this out there, DJ Earl and Nick Hook have helped to show you the way to a better and brighter day...

You just have to let them.

50 Backwoods is out now on Fool's Gold Records

DJ Earl:

Nick Hook:

Friday
Nov112016

Nick Hook: 'Relationships'

In creating his concept album about 2015, Nick Hook may have given us the best album of 2016.  'Relationships' was the term that the multi-instrumentalist, producer, dj, and all around impresario chose to describe the year gone by.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' featuring Novelist is the first single to be released from the record.  The irreverent confidence that song imparts upon the listener is a perfect introduction for a project that fearlessly explores so many sounds of modern music, all with a powerful timeless quality.

'Relationships' includes an unbelievable list of special guests, one that no other artist could assemble, nor make sound right at home following one another.  '+3' kicks off the record with DJ Rashad, DJ Paypal, and Nasty Nigel who is on a few tracks.  It begins with a recording of a phone call planning a night of adventure and debauchery and ends poignantly with the line 'you never know how long your boys are around...' and for the first time on the album you feel the sense of balance that makes this one of the most well rounded albums you'll find in the new release section.

'Pro Choice' follows, and 'Gucci's' comes after that, two brilliant examples of Nick Hook's ability to create club music of a variety of styles.  He's always drawing from such a wide array of influences that the results are one of a kind, but with a bit of familiarity found in those nuances.  'Another Way' features the unimitable voice of Spank Rock, and on a song that is more poignant and inspiring than we've come to expect from a lyricist who's often leaned towards the lewd and outrageous. 

The interlude 'Forever' follows, a reminder of the unique structure of the album.  It allows the tracks to stand out when played on their own, and creates a dynamic and unpredictable experience when played from front to back.  'Dive For You' features the vocals of Junglepussy and includes one of the most legendary guests on the album; Prefuse 73.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' lands right in the middle of the record and it's intensity is followed by the longing and love found in iLoveMakonnen's lyrics on 'All Alone'.

The song 'Bhu Hum' with Damien Hagglund begins as if it's a meditation and evolves into one of the most booming productions we've heard in some time.  Meyhem Lauren takes the microphone on 'Live While I'm Livin' ft. Super Hero Killer.  'Head' leans back into the debaucherous side of the record, before 'Relationships' mellows out a bit thanks to the Nasty Nigel sung cover of 'Lovesong' by the Cure.  It's the perfect precursor to one of the most beautiful pieces of music we've heard in a long time: 'The Infinite Loop' features Nasty Nigel on vocals, along with Chino Moreno of the Deftones, and much like the album's opener the footwork legend DJ Rashad. 

The album opens and closes with guest appearances by DJ Rashad.  It features a seemingly endless list of incredible special guests, and it's simple to understand when you hear it that the relationships are not only what made this possible, but what makes it powerful.

That list of special guests is a testament to what Nick Hook means to the world of music, and how many artists are blessed to know him.  The first time I heard 'Evilisontherise' it brought back memories of seeing Hudson Mohawke perform in Detroit with an energetic yet devious Nick Hook on the mic winding up the crowd and crowdsurfing in what I now consider one of the best dj sets I've ever seen.

'The Infinite Loop' has conjured memories of a late night Mega Bus journey into New York City.

This record is unbelievable as a collection of songs, but in it's inherent ability to remind us to love and appreciate those relationships we have, no matter how challenging, it is an absolute masterpiece.

Tuesday
Feb242015

Nani Castle x Udachi "The Amethyst Tape"

 

This one is a couple months old, but all that does for us is give it time to sink in, for us to really fall in love with it.  NYC creators Nani Castle and Udachi have teamed up for a monster of a mixtape, dubbed 'The Amethyst Tape'.  The result is a somewhat brief but so very sweet concoction of Nani's intoxicating rhymes and vocals on top of a whole bunch of choice cuts, from Modeselektor to Salva and Nick Hook, Koreless (which is our favorite jam on this tape), and of course Udachi himself. 

We couldn't find much info on Nani Castle, so we will tell you what we do know.  We know that she is an up and coming, ferocious and introspective super mc with a thousand flows and enough to get off her chest for dozens more of these.  This mixtape is the MC / DJ combo of the future, embracing electronic music and showcasing tons of technical skill, both in the lyrics and the mixing. It also doesn't sound like anything we can really, honestly compare it to.  Both Nani Castle and Udachi are succeeding at doing their own thing, and crafting their own unique sounds in a world where there seems to be a lot of the same.

We can pretty much promise you will love this mixtape.  Download it, take it with you next time you need to drive to Winnipeg, play it before, after, or during your next party, play it and walk your gigantic dog around the neighbourhood.  Whatever you do, this tape will make it more enjoyable.  Much respect to Nani Castle and Udachi. This is a big one!


1) Nani Castle - Purple Life Intro - [Prince Beat] 
2) Nani Castle - Crushed Velvet Remix - [Prod by Udachi]
3) Nani Castle - Pink Gold - [Old English Beat. Prod by Salva and Nick Hook]
4) Nani Castle - Lift the Veil ft. Nire - [Prod by Udachi]
5) Nani Castle - Ms Blaze feat Sinywok - [Beat Prod by The Alchemist] 
6) Nani Castle - Looking for [Beat Prod by CFCF]
7) Nani Castle - Faruza ft Nire [Prod by Udachi]
8) Nani Castle - Tread Lightly [Prod by Udachi]
9) Nani Castle - Toto [Prod by Udachi]
10) Nani Castle - Peach Brown [Beat Prod by Maker]
11) Nani Castle - Allusive [Beat Prod by Jake One]
12) Nani Castle - Intro [Beat Prod by Kruder and Dorfmeister] 
13) Nani Castle - Lie That I Believed - [Beat Prod by Koreless]

14) Nani Castle - To the People - [Beat Prod by Modeselektor]