Drake – Take Care

Have you had sex four times this week? Do you aspire to spank 50 Gs taking your boys away for the May bank holiday? Me neither. So, as a middle England-er with an interest in accounting, why do I like this record? Perhaps it appeals to the rebelliousness of a Surrey upbringing and the need to express myself by doing things I shouldn’t be doing in my mate’s shed.

Given that the rebelliousness of youth is long past and my mate’s shed now contains a lawn mower, I was confused – as you might be.

And then I figured it out. It’s the same reason I love Kanye West (the lyrical equivalent of that moron who corners you in a bar on a Friday night after work). The beats this guy raps over are so good that you’re missing a soul if you don’t feel them.

Drake - Take Care

The tracks on this record appeal to every part of modern electronica that I love. In short, they’re deep, expressive and truly unique in their use of samples. Let’s take track 4, “Crew Love” as a case in point. The intro is so reminiscent of Burial that I’m minded to grab my shovel but then we get taken to another level with an achingly laid back drum loop – think Dre without having to consume an entire album of it.

Another stand-out is track 8, “We’ll be fine”. The intro is summer garden party pretty – including tea and cakes – and then it drops into a sick bass line that’ll destroy your stereo and make you go straight out and buy that sub you’ve had your eye on so you can do it all over again.

So far we’ve looked at the beats and mocked the lyrics, which isn’t a fair representation of the vocals. Take a look at “Make Me Proud” feat. Nicki Minaj as a case in point. I love the willingness to big up new artists on hip-hop albums. Why don’t indie/rock artists do it more often? This woman spits utterly confusing lyrics but her timing, sound and aggression make me love 50 second of this song so much that I want to loop it over and over.

The same is true of the André 3000 cameo on “The Real Her”. It’s a crying shame that the the most amazing vocal performances come from the special guests, but it shouldn’t stop you enjoying this record.

So what should you do? In short: Buy this album. Treat Drake‘s vocals as a melody. Love the special guests. It deserves a listen. Put it on repeat.

Rustie – Glass Swords

It’s a silly concept really, a sword made out of glass, or maybe I’m missing a trick. A weapon that uses the power of refraction to inflict its damage. Anyway, this discussion is deflecting me (sorry, no more tenuous light based physics jokes) from the purpose of this post. As you may have guessed, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the debut full length release from one of Glasgow’s golden group of producer/DJs who have been slowly but very confidently infiltrating our ears with their heavily hip-hop influenced, electronic sounds; Rustie.

Rustie

I was moved in a big way earlier this year by the Satin Panthers release from label mate Hudson Mohawke with it’s equal mix of delicateness and dirt. Rustie’s Glass Swords certainly continues in the same vein.

The album doesn’t lead with its strongest tracks, and by doing this you find yourself getting more hyped as you journey through, enticing you to switch the vinyl back to the A-side and ride it out again. The fish hook that reeled me in was the back to back power houses of Ultra Thizz and Death Mountain. The former flips you from frantic fist pumps to a half time shuffle in the blink of a bar, all 808s, power synth stab riffs and mouthed bass. Death Mountain comes in with what sounds like a trance influenced orchestral string section juiced on Four Loko and played in reverse, then breaking down over a light speed tuned drum roll before returning to the almost trademark mouth bass riff complemented with a pan pipe affected high vocal part.

There’s mellow parts too, like the roller dub step shuffle feel of After Light. I say mellow, this song GOES OFF just after the two minute mark. It’s as if a whole Rustie DJ set has been layered into one track; easing you in with a filtered intro, opening you up with a chest shattering bass rhythm, pulling you right back down again before the long (and again trance style) build into the … wait for it … POW huge drop.

The sounds that make up some of the songs I feel could be, dare I say it, annoying, if listened to in isolation. However Rustie’s ability to melt these together into tracks that you can wash the dishes to or run a rave on illustrate the vast appeal that this album has.

Moving towards the back end of the album and All Nite, you can hear the influence of Rustie’s previous collaborations with Bristol’s Joker. I also get the impression that video games like Sonic the Hedgehog might have played some part in shaping Rustie’s musical direction, but that’s just my opinion.

If you fill a stocking with Glass Swords this Christmas, it’s safe to say no daggers will be drawn (I’ve really got to stop with this comedy angle), so why don’t you!

Glass Swords is released by Warp Recordings and is available in all good record stores and online digital outlets.