Re-Birth // Urbnet
On her debut album Re-Birth, Toronto based Somali-Canadian producer OBUXUM channels all the best elements of beat music, hip-hop and electronic music to challenge the prevailing status-quo in music and offers a commentary on issues of opportunity and diversity.
With track titles such as “Reclaiming my d!mn self”, and “Take Up SPACE!”, the album also functions as a message in positive affirmation. On the standout track “Equity”, OBUXUM takes a sample from Viola Davis’ inspiring 2015 Emmy awards winning speech (which quotes Harriet Tubman) about diversity and access to opportunity; this sample is beautifully nestled within swirling uptempo techno beats as it slowly thumps it’s way into your heart. By the end of that stellar track, it’s hard not to feel hopeful and rejuvenated. On tracks like “Black Girls Flying” and “Own Your Truth (feat Furozh)”, the production takes a more ominous direction. The glitchy synths and skittering drums have an otherworldly nocturnal quality to them evoking production style of Los Angeles’ beat scene veterans Flying Lotus and Ras G.
Nowadays, less is more and clocking in at about twenty minutes, Re-Birth is meticulously efficient in creating its narrative and more importantly the journey is undeniably enjoyable.
- Piyush Patel
In Hell // Independent
If crowd surfing isn’t on your bucket list, it very well should be. You’ll need a notoriously energetic show to jump into a sea of show-goers and Slam Dunk is the band for you. Now is your chance as these west coast all-stars are touring the release of their third album, In Hell (recorded by Colin Stewart, owner of The Hive Creative Labs in Victoria, BC). The seven-year hiatus since the release of their sophomore Welcome to Miami was mostly attributed to band members focusing on other stuff while living in different cities across the country (Victoria, Vancouver, Montreal).
One of the more difficult aspects of making art is the ability to craft your signature sound while remaining relevant and interesting as time passes. On In Hell, Slam Dunk make this task sound simple as they stay true to their frenzied, spoken word garage-punk. I guess seven years must be a magic number because it was well worth the wait. The album is sans-saxophone, but stays true to their quintessentially rambunctious, anthemic, syncopated approach to raucous, funky melodies. Tracks ‘Stranger’ and ‘Roll4evah+ Die 2getha’ embrace more twang while ‘Fucking Around’ reeks of essential Slam Dunk with the screechy chant “my love will change but my heart’s the same”. ‘DYB’ is the most ambitious track off the album, embracing the meandering and manic in full bloom.
I would highly recommend Slam Dunk to folks from all walks of life, but it will especially appeal to those who appreciate the contributions of artists such as: The Cramps, Rancid, and Canadian gems like Apollo Ghosts and Jock Tears. This band is also great for those who dig Built to Spill, who they are touring with this fall. In summary, Slam Dunk rules!
- Nicola Gunter