Albums of the week

18.06.12

Spaceghostpurrp – ‘Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp’ [4AD]

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SpaceGhostPurrp appeared on a series of rap YouTubes shot at A$AP Rocky’s house called A$AP Worldwide x Raider Klan Stash House Freestyles. If you watched them and missed him, don’t worry about it – while his friends from Raider Klan, the black-clad internet-based rap crew he fronts, bounce and laugh raucously into the camera, he’s controlled, quiet, laidback into his seat. But, staring dead straight into the lens and sadly relaying violent, fantastic rhymes was one of the moment’s most exciting voices, a rapper and producer of huge note.

Obsessed with space, ancient mythology and 90s southern rap, SpaceGhostPurrp is based in the not-that-pretty end of Miami, a town where people eat faces and shoot kids for Skittles. ‘Mysterious Phonk’ is made up of mastered versions of tracks from his slew of mixtapes, most notably ‘God Of Black’ and ‘BlackLand Radio’. It’s astonishing – taking the humid funk of UKG, Pharell and early Three Six Maffia and combining it with the sad, psychedelic tones of DJ Screw and the hypnagogic sonic fiction of Ariel Pink, the songs are spacious, beautiful, powerful pieces of rap production. His rapping is thick, commanding and drawling in the Southern style, but his subjects are unlike many of his contemporaries. Women for him are “Goddesses”, and he writes with painful directness about the hardness of life on the minimum wage and the tension of striving for a better life while surrounded by the vicious depths of America, built up by a vast fantastically dark universe of his own creation, populated by Egyptian gods and vampires. It’s one of the most astonishing records of the last six months, and if you’ve missed him before, please do not make the mistake again. I mean that, my good people. [CRJ]

Lemonade – ‘Diver’ [True Panther]
The pop spark of Lemonade has mellowed over time, and this is a good thing. ‘Diver’, the R&B follow-up to their perky, self-titled 2008 debut, comes on like an accidental meeting with the ex-lover that never left your head: memories of a familiar warmth mixed with a strange, thrilling newness that catches the breath. Big Changes is the first time back at discotheque, Softkiss the anticipated heart-in-mouth moment but it’s Neptune that best demonstrates their fresh perspective. “Let me speak to you / So I can show you / All I want is sort this out,” sings frontman Callen, knee-deep in percussion so lush it ripples. It’s been a while, Lemonade, but you’re sounding good. [RS]

Buy Lemonade – ‘Diver’ [True Panther]

Peaking Lights – ‘Lucifer’ [Weird World]
Third full-length album and follow-up to last year’s breakthrough ‘936’, Peaking Lights’ latest eight-track anthology proves to be not only the most ambitious of their releases, but also an ardent glorification of the husband and wife duo’s love. In terms of the scope of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis’ latest musical triumph, the breadth of sound within the album spans from elements of spaced-out minimal disco to rippling dub and everything in-between. Celebrating the couple’s new child in Beautiful Son, who can also be heard blissfully giggling in LO HI, ‘Lucifer’ is an album both affectionate and kind, with notes that dance joyfully along innocent synth scales. The symbiotic harmony of music and family is prevalent throughout, joined with the couple’s love of psychedelia, art-rock, dub and each other. [RM]

Lorn – ‘Ask The Dust’ [Ninja Tune]
New album ‘Ask The Dust’ marks Milwaukee-born Marcos Ortega’s maneuver from LA label Brainfeeder to UK’s Ninja Tune and this follow-up to 2010’s ‘Nothing Else’ affirms Ortega’s standing as one of 2012’s most prevalent producers. The epicness of ‘Ask The Dust’ is fore-fronted by rumbling bass-lines and growling disfigured vocals, jittery restless beats and dark menacing tones shroud emotive chords and melodies in dark, grey vastness. Lorn’s skill is pronounced in his new album through his rare ability to present melodic jewels among towering bass rubble. Vulnerable yet firm, persistent musicality flows like oil in the thick of cracked, menacing tones in a corroded and rusty machine. Lorn’s new album is truly masterfully assembled and proves intense beauty is found in darkness. [RM]

CAN – The Lost Tapes [Mute]
Lost tapes should be approached with the same trepidation as any nostalgia. If the past was so good, why did it end? If the found is so good, why look for the lost? So, this three-CD box-set, made-up of off-cuts from the peerles German band’s experiments between 1968-1975 is a sprawling set touched by the same genius that made ‘Tago Mago’ and ‘Ege Bamyasi’ such phenomenal records – the same maddening, ritualistic, cinematic funk is there on Abra Cada Braxas and Millionspel and many other tracks. The problem is, as with so many reissues, the deadening horse-flogging. This is could have been totally insane album, but it’s been watered down with numerous lumpen live versions and sub-par sketches into a collectors-only edition with a few great tunes. [CRJ]