Max Bell is somewhere hidden in this pile of records.
Madlib has never left his devotees hanging. There was a good Quasimoto record this June and I’m sure many still haven’t listened to all of the Beat Konducta and Medicine Show releases (19 releases combined). For now, it seems as if Madlib won’t stop melting vinyl until he’s inhaled ten lifetimes worth of dust, wax, and psychedelic fungi. This is what happens when you’re a lone loop digger who doesn’t spend any real time on Twitter or even bother with Instagram. (Quasimoto has one, but the posts are few and far between and that guy/thing has a mind of its own.)
Continuing his prolificacy, Madlib dropped “Black Widow,” the second single off of his Rock Konducta Vol.1, last week. Whereas the Rock Konducta 7-inch released in May was more of an upbeat funk-filled affair, replete with James Brown grunts, a blaring brass section, and the drums of a manic marching band, “Black Widow” is a move towards full meltdown, the determined dive down the rabbit hole in search of rare licorice pizza and pills that will make you larger, smaller, and in between.
Here the guitar riffs puncture the psyche, the drums drive, and the bass line is spine tingling. There’s also some brief singing from a ’60-’70s rocker spliced with someone talking about “popped collars” and “haters.” Madlib’s genius on full display: he places the banal (popped collars and haters) against the most interesting and intense sonic backdrops while making it feel like an wholly organic experience. In sum, the konducta baton is a blunt and the beat moves Madlib as much as he moves it.
Rock Konducta Vol. 1 ostensibly drops in December, and I’m hoping the rest of this Zamrock inspired project sounds similar to “Black Widow.” Either way, it’s something spooky enough to play on Halloween for the grown man who shows up at your door in a Lord Quas costume. I don’t know why he’s there, but let him in. He probably has a story or two.