Release Date: 30 Sept 2013
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Release Label / Page: Dusted Wax Kingdom
So, if dogma is a series of principles that are incontrovertibly true as part of a belief system, does that make un-dogma a series of principles that are false? That would make undogmatic the manner of doing something that follows false principles? Okay, I’m kidding about this…sometimes it’s just fun to play with language, and that is obviously what Undogmatic has done with both his name and the name of this release.
But, that is not to say that there isn’t a point to this release. There is a pretty big one, and Undogmatic comes to the point of it with the track ‘What the Fuck Happened To Hip Hop?’ It’s obvious that Undogmatic has been looking around at the hip-hop and trip-hop scene, and found there is a lot of formulaic crap out there. So, this release serves as something of a wake up call.
With thumping bass lines, and booming drums heavily layered over samples and loops from a wide range of music, Undogmatic is making a statement: return to an older hip-hop style, and find a new direction, a new way of working in this style, break out of the formula laiden slag that is out there today.
And it’s an admirable goal, and Undogmatic does things that many trip-hop producers and artists fail to do these days: bring a consistent style with it’s own flavor that will keep you grooving. The bass lines and the drums are forward in the mix, the samples are loops are primarily the background structure for the rhythmic fun of these pieces.
To me, Undogmatic seems to have a starting point in DJ Shadow’s earlier works, like ‘The Private Press’, and then has gone in a slightly different direction, while keeping true to the overall style.
When it comes down to it, I couldn’t find a weak track on this release. Stand-out tracks on this release are: ‘What the Fuck Happened To Hip Hop?’ for posing the question, ‘Se Eu Fosse Um Dia O Teu Olhar’ for the exceptionally well re-worked piano line from the Pedro Abrunhosa track of the same title, and ‘Tacitamente’ for it’s blending of saxophone and vocal lines.
It’s really great to hear a release that mixes and blends downtempo, trip-hop, funk and other genres so well and seamlessly that it isn’t even something that you really think about. It’s just something that you listen to and enjoy.