Review: D3 Elements clocks up release number five here by offering up a full EP to Zhao-Ski, who previously appeared on the VA EP release in 2014. What he serves up are a clutch of instrumental hip hop tracks that speak to the soul.
Zhao-Ski has been a key figure on the Detroit scene for years. A DJ since his teens and owner of the Black Operation Records label since the 90s, he has produced as part of collectives, played live with MCs and has been mentored by the famous Mad Mike Banks. As such his credentials and skills are long established, so he makes a welcome return to the D3 ranks.
'Enter the Void' opens things up with louche, sun kissed beats that immediately brighten up your world. 'Mischief Meadow' has tumbling drums, trilling keys and lots of dusty atmospherics and 'Warning Signs' marries spoken world snippets with jazzy percussive, slowly funky drums and woozy pads that lull you into a wholly relaxed state. On the flip, 'Tight and Upright' is all about the huge over sized drums, snares and cymbal splashes that are all miked up super closely, then 'Time Reimagined' starts with some filmic and evocative vocals and sound design before a trumpet led groove unravels in stoned trip hop fashion. Overall, this is a magically compelling and authentic little ride through the mind of Detroit's hip hop king, Zhao-Ski.
Review: Six years have passed since Los Angeles MC and beat-maker Zeroh dropped his first collection of cuts, an epic, 30-track digital album that showcased his ability to take hip-hop in intriguing and off-kilter new directions. "BLQLYTE", his official debut album, has been a long time coming, but we can assure you it was worth the wait. His flowing, distinctively evocative vocals - part sung, part rapped, always inspired - provide a central focus point to a musically eclectic set whose paranoid, doom-laden soundscapes brilliantly mix and match elements of hip-hop, jazz, drowsy electronica, mutant R&B, ambient and music concrete. It's the kind of album that takes a while to sink in, but give it a chance and you'll be thoroughly rewarded.