Record Review - Blockhead: The Music Scene

Ninja Tune

Though his production work on albums for Aesop Rock and other elite indie rappers gets a lot more attention, Manhattan beatmaker Blockhead has quietly been releasing consistently strong solo albums in the last half-decade. His tracks for other artists tend to be more in the hard-hitting, slicing-and-dicing, traditional hip-hop vein, but albums such as his latest, The Music Scene, give him an opportunity to be more atmospheric and experimental, and at times, to simply space out. The disc is at its best on such creeping, smothering instrumentals as "Attack the Doctor" and "Hell Camp," which are as compelling as the work of turntablists DJ Shadow and RJD2. One wishes, however, that Blockhead would ditch the canned, vintage-sounding voiceovers he often employs to make things a bit more ironic. On The Music Scene's title track, it's a '50s-style educator chanting, "We call that a joint" – which is pretty silly. 4 out of 5 stars.