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Schoolboy Q + Kendrick Lamar – Collard Greens

(I guess I’m a bit late on this one, as I don’t really like Q —his lyrics are a bit quote-unquote typical cash’n’bitches chat— but this dub-washed half-time/double-time beat from THC is something else. Kinda sounds like FlyLo if he was interested in making club bangers. And do I need to tell you Kendrick kills his verse?).

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Guilty Simpson + Oh No – Rap Stampede

(Does exactly what it says on the label. Both artists on top form with this lead track from their 5 track collab tape. Side note: this is the most Oh No-iest beat Oh No has dropped in ages. Banger. Bonus note: how has it taken this long for Guilty to get Simpsonised??).

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BADBADNOTGOOD + Ghostface + Elzhi – Gunshowers

(These guys have made some real progress this past year. A solid LP under their belts and collabs with Danny Brown and Ghostface Killah, the latter turning into a full album coming Feb 2015. Ex-Slum Village MC Elzhi hops on this one too for a very natural feeling team-up with plenty of room to breathe, just gliding through. Hip-hop played with ‘real’ instruments is all too rare – it’s about time The Roots had a peer. I think the LP’s gonna be a good one).

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Ras G – Walk With Me (feat. KhaiLL Sadiq)

(Ras G’s preoccupation with mental galactic noises can be a bit frustrating at times as it gets in the way of some otherwise great beats (although to be fair it works better live). This is one where he goes more stripped back and it pays off. Nice to hear some rhymes over his work too, as it’s pretty rare).

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Al Dobson Jr – Santiago Black (Ptaki Version)

(The original is a great, short-but-sweet rough cut of a beat that you could imagine Kutmah playing. This edit/remix keeps the loose drums but transports the track way into DFA / Greg Wilson territory for a lo-fi space disco ride).

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JTC – Veronja One

(Epic dystopian dubscape from the man also known as Dabrye on the first release from his own record label. This track actually sounds much more like Dabrye than JTC so its a bit of an unexpected gem if you’re a fan of Two/Three’s instrumentals. The full track is 12 mins long so this just a taste. The whole EP is great btw).

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Pyramid Vritra – Palace / Retrograde / Track Three

(I already talked about this EP, but now it has retina-melting video to go with it. Each track is a new room in the palace. Think Tyler without the negativity, an audio cousin of Jeremiah Jae).

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Objekt – Second Witness

(Although it shares the same sonic landscape as his previous work, this track is also a whole new kettle of fish for Objekt. The aesthetic is similar yet the tempo switches down to an atmospheric lollop somewhere between late 00’s LA beat scene hip-hop and dub-techno (so it ticks a lot of boxes for me). It’s a very promising prospect to hear this matched against the more club-ready tracks he’s known for when he drops his upcoming debut album for PAN).

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Noomi Rapace by Aitor Throup (score by Flying Lotus)

(This short film of the Girl With the Dragon Tatoo actor being cast by artist Throup is interesting enough, but greatly enhanced by FlyLo’s score. Each chapter has a different track and the repetitive looped nature of some works really well with this process-focussed documentary. To me the music sounds like a mixture of old unused ideas and new material, which —given how much FlyLo’s sound has developed over the years— sits together remarkably well. Intriguingly it doesn’t sound particularly like anything I’ve heard from his new album, which makes me wonder how much material he holds back (I’d guess a lot) and feel like setting up a petition to get Warp to release a compilation of his unreleased music).

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Thom Yorke – A Brain In A Bottle

(If you were a fan of The Eraser, buying Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is a no-brainer. I’d say it’s sonically less distinctive by comparison, (I also feel like you can hear references to artists he’s worked with and/or respects on some tracks) but it’s excellence as usual throughout and more enjoyable than AMOK. Make no mistake though, it’s a serious album. If you could measure the awfulness of our times by the mood of Thom Yorke’s songs, things are even worse now than they were in 2006. This track sets the dour tone yet bumps with a 2-step beat that makes being depressed about the state of the world something to bump to).

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Flying Lotus + Kendrick Lamar – Never Catch Me

(I mean, this is an incredible video. Both dark and light-hearted, it’s beautiful, sad and almost funny. Excellent choreography. And the song itself is an impressive step forward for both artists: FlyLo fuses a lot of tempos and ideas into a very packed few minutes to create a dense psychedelic journey that hangs together impressively well; Kendrick showcases his vocal dexterity on a very tricky beat that suggests he’s willing push the boundaries of hip-hop further than most MCs).

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Paul White – Sahara Beaches

(In anticipation of his album launch tonight, here’s a slightly older non-album track of hazy warmth that balances floating vocal samples and delicate nimble percussion with lolloping thudding kicks and a bass that recalls Disco’s Revenge (for me anyway). A beat master at work. Looking forward to seeing him play live).

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Les Sins – Why (feat. Nate Salman)

(Wow. Pure luxury. So good. Too excited for the album and still a month to goooo).

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Pyramid Vritra – Track Three

(Kanye might be jealous of this beat if he wasn’t busy ‘moshing drunk with mad babes’ at his Paris listening party. Perfect balance of soul samples, nimble snares, and low-key rhymes. Could have been busy, but he found the space).

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Rome Fortune – One Time For (prod. by Four Tet)

(When electronics and rap come together. Love it. Wish Four Tet would release more rap collabs. See also: Madvillainy remixes; Money Motivated Movements; A Joy Remix. Ps. check the video too, if only for the spoof used car ad at the beginning).