From the creative mind of the now Brooklyn-based, but Boston-bred, producer and engineer Willie Green comes …Of Heroes and Villains. Released as a free album last month, this instrumental album (with the exception of the two final tracks) boasts an impressive array of sounds, all bundled neatly into a half-hour experiment designed to examine the world of good vs. evil.
Growing up, Willie had a love for cartoons – a love that has now carried over into his music. While this is technically an instrumental album, Willie infused each track with samples from various cartoons and shows (some actually resemble the samurai samples made famous by Wu-Tang Clan), which supply a fun yet enthralling narrative for some grandiose adventure which the track, “Final Adjustments,” does a fine job of introducing. While this fun-loving, adventurous theme is a very creative base from which the album grows, the focal point of this album is without question the fantastic quality of production.
Besides the spoken samples, Willie utilizes a variety of instruments – pianos, guitars, strings, horns, and more – and wrapped neatly around extraordinary drum loops. This is certainly no chillout, 90s boom-bap album. Here, the drums come fast and furious (for the most part) and in unique patterns each time, switching pace and rhythm often. Each track is constructed layer upon layer, resulting in dense, rich sounds. What is most impressive about this album is the pacing. Even without the narrative samples, the music itself unfolds in a very story-like manner. Almost every instrumental track falls under two minutes, which means that each part of the album moves from one element to the next quickly. Various tracks even resemble precisely what one would expect to hear during a chase scene, a shootout, or a grand finale battle, playing perfectly into the theme of good vs. evil. On the whole, …Of Heroes and Villains is an unique, engaging listen from a very exciting producer.