Not that I’ve had to choose, but I’ve generally preferred Dubstep’s half-speed syncopation and violent bass drops to Future/instrumental Hip-Hop’s 3-minute stoner grooves this year. That said, I’ll gladly make an exception for Paul White’s Sounds from the Skylight, whose ever-so-brief first side dropped last week, threatening to wreck havoc on my end of the year list. Sounding as massive as anything produced by Hudson Mohawke, but filling the space between the cavernous drums with a mix of off-kilter sampling, melodic keys and a funky sense of rhythm, White’s music is made for rocking out. Tunes start at full blast, accelerate for two minutes (or less!) and vanish just as quickly, powered by the kind of propulsive head-nod inducing energy I gravitate towards to in electronic music.
As we exit the decade, it’s becoming increasingly clear that J Dilla is rap’s Obi Wan Kenobi: a grandmaster in his own time but more powerful than we could ever imagine in the afterlife. From Stone Throw’s Lo-fidelity grooves to the ever-evolving Alpha-Pup/Brainfeeder/Low-End Theory axis to the attics of London and basements of Detroit, Donuts has become the decade’s least-likely touchstone, freeing producers from outdated notions of structure while promoting musical ideas that have proven adaptable to a multitude of styles. While Paul White has the respect not to use James Yancey’s name in vain (who let Charles Hamilton out of his crawlspace anyways?), there’s no doubt that Detroit’s finest heavily influenced Sounds from the Skylight, an exciting album from a producer who could make some serious noise in 2010.
ZIP: Paul White-Sounds From the Skylight (Side A) (Left-Click)