Entries in Fool's Gold Records (5)

Sunday
Dec102017

DJ Earl & Nick Hook: '50 Backwoods'

50 Backwoods is more than just a title, it's a glimpse at what it took to make this record.  Nick Hook and DJ Earl joined forces in Hook's Brooklyn studio to craft a record that simply couldn't happen any other way.  The influence of the late DJ Rashad is felt throughout the world of music, but this record is one that lives and breathes that vibrant, energetic sound.  Completed in the span of a week, this dedicated duo gives to the world an album of limitless positive energy.

The album opens with 'Calculate', and immediately it's clear this album is something special.  It's opening message is one of presence.  It's quite evident that Nick and Earl employed this technique in making the album, but they are also inviting their listeners to be present.  This idea goes beyond just the experience of listening to the album, as that thought will linger long after the record ends.  Where it begins with hazy synthesizers, and the emphasis on feeling over thinking, and how the concept of division forms itself in our everyday thoughts.  It's also one of a few tracks that feature DJ Earl on vocals.

Putting an innovative footwork producer in the studio with a multi-instrumentalist/synth wizard is like combining chemical elements.  There are parts that sound like clearly like what we've come to know and love from Hook and Earl, and yet there are many parts that feel like an improbable yet beautiful reaction to that combination of influences, skills, and two unique visions.  'I'm Smokin' features Jacks on vocals, and instantly evokes dancehall vibes, and shows the versatility of this record.  It's a club smash that follows an introspective, meditative track, and no one else could do it like this.

'Energy' is a calm, confident one, and it follows 'I'm Smokin' perfectly.  It opens with the line 'I'm trying to get my mind right...' something that a great many of us can relate to.  The song embraces an effort that can seem impossible, and yet grows all the more important in our unpredictable era.  The tempo is laidback in comparision to DJ Earl's footwork tunes, but the feeling is very much present.  It plays like a mantra one could embrace during the calm before the storm.

With 'Hook Chop' the duo bring Wiki into the studio, and the beat is reminiscent of classic hip hop in more ways than one.  The tune bridges the gap between generations of rappers and producers by combining musical elements from the golden age, as well as the present and future.  Wiki thrives on this one, as few rappers could.  That chill sound is followed by 'We The People' with Melo-X on the mic.  Backed by unpredictable percussion Melo-X speaks of God, a presence found through our connections to one another.  The track is one of the wildest we've heard in a long time, with evolving effects on Melo-X' voice and the music behind his powerful voice.

'Mood Right Now' opens with a synthesizer, a cough, some delay, and Nick Hook's beautifully simple guitar playing.  It's one of the singles from the album, and it's also become iconic of the unbridled creativity, and positivity you'll find on this album.  While it doesn't feel like "happy" music, this record possesses a balanced optimism that it's creators have captured and shared with each and everyone of us.  'Mood Right Now' may have become a meme, a frequent Instagram caption, and yet few can say they share that mood so honestly as DJ Earl and Nick Hook on this song.

50 Backwoods winds down with 'Liberate' and 'Alice', and after your first complete, focused listen you'll want to keep this 27 minute record on repeat.  As Henri Matisse said 'Creativity takes courage...', and with that in mind this effort by DJ Earl and Nick Hook is heroic.  Listen closely to 'Liberate' and 'We The People' and see what we mean, turn up 'Mood Right Now' or 'Calculate' and you'll be able to feel that by putting this out there, DJ Earl and Nick Hook have helped to show you the way to a better and brighter day...

You just have to let them.

50 Backwoods is out now on Fool's Gold Records

DJ Earl:

Nick Hook:

Friday
Nov112016

Nick Hook: 'Relationships'

In creating his concept album about 2015, Nick Hook may have given us the best album of 2016.  'Relationships' was the term that the multi-instrumentalist, producer, dj, and all around impresario chose to describe the year gone by.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' featuring Novelist is the first single to be released from the record.  The irreverent confidence that song imparts upon the listener is a perfect introduction for a project that fearlessly explores so many sounds of modern music, all with a powerful timeless quality.

'Relationships' includes an unbelievable list of special guests, one that no other artist could assemble, nor make sound right at home following one another.  '+3' kicks off the record with DJ Rashad, DJ Paypal, and Nasty Nigel who is on a few tracks.  It begins with a recording of a phone call planning a night of adventure and debauchery and ends poignantly with the line 'you never know how long your boys are around...' and for the first time on the album you feel the sense of balance that makes this one of the most well rounded albums you'll find in the new release section.

'Pro Choice' follows, and 'Gucci's' comes after that, two brilliant examples of Nick Hook's ability to create club music of a variety of styles.  He's always drawing from such a wide array of influences that the results are one of a kind, but with a bit of familiarity found in those nuances.  'Another Way' features the unimitable voice of Spank Rock, and on a song that is more poignant and inspiring than we've come to expect from a lyricist who's often leaned towards the lewd and outrageous. 

The interlude 'Forever' follows, a reminder of the unique structure of the album.  It allows the tracks to stand out when played on their own, and creates a dynamic and unpredictable experience when played from front to back.  'Dive For You' features the vocals of Junglepussy and includes one of the most legendary guests on the album; Prefuse 73.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' lands right in the middle of the record and it's intensity is followed by the longing and love found in iLoveMakonnen's lyrics on 'All Alone'.

The song 'Bhu Hum' with Damien Hagglund begins as if it's a meditation and evolves into one of the most booming productions we've heard in some time.  Meyhem Lauren takes the microphone on 'Live While I'm Livin' ft. Super Hero Killer.  'Head' leans back into the debaucherous side of the record, before 'Relationships' mellows out a bit thanks to the Nasty Nigel sung cover of 'Lovesong' by the Cure.  It's the perfect precursor to one of the most beautiful pieces of music we've heard in a long time: 'The Infinite Loop' features Nasty Nigel on vocals, along with Chino Moreno of the Deftones, and much like the album's opener the footwork legend DJ Rashad. 

The album opens and closes with guest appearances by DJ Rashad.  It features a seemingly endless list of incredible special guests, and it's simple to understand when you hear it that the relationships are not only what made this possible, but what makes it powerful.

That list of special guests is a testament to what Nick Hook means to the world of music, and how many artists are blessed to know him.  The first time I heard 'Evilisontherise' it brought back memories of seeing Hudson Mohawke perform in Detroit with an energetic yet devious Nick Hook on the mic winding up the crowd and crowdsurfing in what I now consider one of the best dj sets I've ever seen.

'The Infinite Loop' has conjured memories of a late night Mega Bus journey into New York City.

This record is unbelievable as a collection of songs, but in it's inherent ability to remind us to love and appreciate those relationships we have, no matter how challenging, it is an absolute masterpiece.

Tuesday
Aug092016

Black Atlass: 'Haunted Paradise'

Black Atlass follows his debut EP 'Blossom' with the full length debut of the year as far as we're concerned.  The sound of these songs embodies the delicate balance implied by the title.  Where 'Blossom' balanced the dynamics of his music with his delicate, yet powerful voice, this one shows an intricacy and elegance that does not come easily. 

The singles 'Island Love' and 'Blonde' show the true feeling of the album without giving away too much.  Each track shares elements of the sounds that comprise the cohesive story told throughout the record.  We can't help but think that the album is partly inspired by the artist leaving his home of Montreal to set up shop and work on the new album in Los Angeles.  Leaving home to focus on something so vital can make anyplace feel like paradise, and yet being in a new city can make one feel like a ghost.

The same can be said of the return home after a great adventure.  'Glow In The Dark' is one shining moment where it's boldly clear that we are witnessing a vital next step in the growth and evolution of Black Atlass.  The video for 'Blonde' is as ominous as the song itself.  After multiple listens it's still unclear whose heart is breaking...

Throughout your first listen to 'Haunted Paradise' it's easy to forget just how much Black Atlass puts into this project.  In a day and age where authenticity seems to bear great significance, we are not only dealing with an artist who writes and performs his own music and lyrics, but also records, mixes, and engineers each song in addition to overseeing the creative process for every aspect of this album.  As a result he has substantial creative control and is able to see his vision brought to life. 

That process is only one of the major reasons why Black Atlass stands out.  His voice is stunning, the music straightforward and emotive, and from beginning to end the album is a seamless listen.  It's a brief glimpse into another world.  It becomes a momentary trip to a 'Haunted Paradise', if you let it...

Saturday
Apr092016

Rome Fortune: 'Jerome Raheem Fortune'

From the opening notes of 'Jerome Raheem Fortune' one thing is clear.  Rome Fortune is in his very own lane.  Between the off the wall, irreverent beats and insightful, often optimistic, fascinating lyrics and delivery, there's simply no mistaking Rome Fortune for anyone else.  'All The Way' plays like Rome telling the listeners and himself that it's time to go all the way, he acknowledges the formative challenges that led him here.  It's a very vulnerable way to begin an album, something that's not so common in hip hop.  One of the many things that set Rome Fortune apart.

That openness is a trend that continues on the record to the point where it becomes an important thread on the album.  'Heavy As Feathers' echoes the phrase 'it's all in your head', and rolls from embracing the world of partying towards realizing one has forgotten their priorities.  The beat intensifies, mirroring the feeling you'd have when you're out way too late and suddenly can't shake the thought that it's all wrong.  Through his own experiences and lessons in life Rome Fortune creates something that is relatable on a nearly universal level.

'Jerome Raheem Fortune' may be tough to process over the first few listens.  This record is a lot to handle, and that's partly because there's never been an artist like Rome Fortune before.  From tales of debauchery to the thoughtful, vulnerable 'What Can You Do'.  The music plays a vital part in the mood, and yet at times it can be completely overshadowed by Rome's voice.  It's evident early on that the beats are as unique as Rome Fortune himself, but the influence of his hometown of Atlanta is impossible to miss.  

The beauty of 'Jerome Raheem Fortune' is that the album is a mystery.  The album doesn't immediately show you what it's all about.  It's chaotic, excited, unpredictable, ruthless, harsh, beautiful and wildly creative.  Fool's Gold Records seems like the perfect home for an album like this, and we hope it's the first of many he makes on this brilliant creative journey.

Thursday
Mar242016

Fool's Gold Presents: 'Night Shift'

Today Fool's Gold Records released 'Night Shift'.  It's a collection from the Fool's Gold family, and a whole lot more.  Led as always by Nick Catchdubs and A-Trak the crew is in top form across many styles.  The night shift features some of the labels legends, and some new artists along with them. Dance, hip hop, club, electronic, soul, this team has got it covered, and with a passion and skill that few can touch.  Nine years into the story of Fool's Gold and 'Night Shift' is a bold example of what they do best.  Innovate.

A-Trak and Ookay open the epic with 'Only One', a dose of soul in the middle of a heavy weight electronic tune.  The pervasive hip hop element is alluded to, but becomes a whole lot more prominent on the UZ remix of 'Beastmode' by Alvin Risk and Hodgy Beats, and 'Me & U'.  Athletixx provides one of the great surprises of the record with 'PNTHR', a wild jungle influenced club masterpiece.  

With 'Actin' Up' by Bosco & Speakerfoxxx, Brenmar's 'Raid', and 'Takin' Shots' by ManMan Savage there's a wild, rebellious side that ranges from fun loving party animal status to losing your mind and acting a fool.  With KRNE's 'I'll Be Good' you find a confident, cool jam.  So bright you almost need sun glasses to listen to it.  A shining moment on a record that shapes up to be quite a ride.  

Rounding out the compilation are Fool's Gold veteran Sammy Bananas with 'BLO' and Jesse & The Wolf with the tune 'Glow In The Dark'.  The two tracks compliment each other beautifully, and 'Glow In The Dark' helps us explain our love for everyone at Fool's Gold Records.

'You Make Me Feel So Damn Happy'...