Choosey – Left Field [Album]
Mercury hovers around the thermostat’s 70-degree mark most days in San Diego (OKAY, so mercurial temperature measures aren’t exactly legal anymore, but you get the idea). Choosey, deft rapper-producer and SD denizen, taps his home city’s sunny stability and a reserved, west coast feel throughout Left Field. The 16-track project enlists plenty of notable guests — Exile, Fashawn, Toshie and Blu, to name a few. Yet from “Oh Lawd”’s opening moments to the project’s ending lines, Choosey’s comforting presence, raspy voice and all, remains the record’s main attraction.
It’s during those closing minutes of Left Field where the smooth-talking rapper makes a case for his skillset, something often apparent but especially superlative when he hits a patch of intuition or insight. “Outside” finds him thoughtful and a bit bothered by our education system’s workings: “Take a minute or a second of reflection/A’s on a thousand tests, stuck in an era when—/they mistake smarts for your memory/If I remembered everything from elementary? Shit…/If I remembered everything I learned in chemistry I’d probably understand why these chemicals is gettin’ to me.” He’s no preacher. Rather than reach for contrived or politically charged material, Choosey just tells it like it is. Hell, this retrospective malaise damn near defines the last 10 years of my life (as it does for most of my fellow students, along with you good folks running life in the real world).
Imparted tidbits of wisdom lace this free LP (peep the Exile-produced “Dreams,” which challenges the common perception of drug dependence). Choosey would have done well to limit Left Field to 12 or 13 tracks; the load grows heavy at points. But there’s no denying his MC abilities, and for that we kindly urge you to press “Download.”—Alex Siber
You can download the project here.
Miró Belle – Happy Trail Mix (Vol. 1) [Album]
Titles can be misleading, goes the old adage, but some paint the picture well enough. Enter Happy Trail Mix (Vol. 1), a goofy jungle/beachside manor filled by psychedelic loops and strung-out paradise guitars that echo into the unknown. Producer Miro Belle slides through each song, stepping from measure to measure with the animated fluidity of a cartoon sleuth. Back against the rhythm and slinking onward, Belle’s tip-toe movements make for an entertaining and whacky listen.
Sticking to similar formulas when crafting songs brings both advantages and troubles. Belle’s off-kilter, unhinged drums form a stable bed of pitter-patter snares and metallic accents; cohesive, yes, but inevitably overdone come Trail’s ultimate end. Sunbaked and wiry, Miro does have a gifted sense of sonic stretching, modeling music to mirror his own idiosyncratic imagination. In doses, his project is a welcome addition to an already packed rotation, providing a disoriented, dazed perspective found in “A Band Apart,” “Flow Tea” and the hilariously named “Terrific Traffic.”
Yet no track appeals to me more than Happy Trail’s very first, “Eye Land Tourist Purist.” Amusing and gleeful, there’s something sarcastic about it that leaves me smiling. For all I know this interpretation is wrong, and Belle brewed up some narrative opus thrown into a a audio package lasting less than two minutes, but hey, I’m a fan regardless.—Alex Siber
You can download the mix project here.
Liquid.Sunshine – Mindless [EP]
Japan-born, Los Angeles-residing producer Liquid.Sunshine grabbed my attention (and then some) with Mindless, his new EP released through Rootnote. And right from the start, the release injects itself into your brain and makes your head bob until you can’t take it anymore. Hey, that’s what pain meds are for, right? Just pop an Aleve before “2020” starts and you should be good to go.
Otherwise, embrace the pain and just wait for the more melodic and mellow “Be Nice” to wash over you. It’s a relaxed respite from the more caffeinated moments on Mindless, such as the beat-switching madness of “Whole World” and glitchy vibes of “Miss x ssiM.” Both of those cuts have their laid-back moments, but Sunshine isn’t cool with just letting loops ride out. That causes his tracks to fluctuate, bounce, and hop around within themselves, keeping you at full attention and, again, destroying your neck.—Andrew Martin
You can download the EP here.