Interludes After Midnight: Blockhead
In an industry where the audience seems overly-interested in the production side of the mix (i.e. the beats), it is a wonder why multi-talented DJs and turnabilists and producers do not dominate the forefront of the scene. It is the eclectic ones, however, that deserve the most attention; beat-makers with the dynamic aptitude to create a sound just like that of Blockhead’s are the more notable ones.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Blockhead took a liking to hip hop at a young age; first rapping, then beat-making. Being the man behind the music was just the thing for this gifted artist. It was later that he would produce for underground phenom, Aesop Rock; Blockhead’s career would launch into one full of artsy production and profound instrumentals that would make him into the clever artist that he is today. Like most of his albums and productions, Interludes After Midnight feature some spacey, downtrodden beats layered with some minor edgy synths and eerie ambiance. Personally, almost every track seems like a little story – hence the interludes. While the album maintains a relatively melancholy mood, every beat seems to take the listener’s mind on a strange journey through musical space. Another odd feature to Blockhead’s beats are their constant changing every thirty seconds or so; it’s almost a little hard to quaintly absorb the beat before he goes and changes it up again. Now this is not so bad because it keeps the listener on their feet and forces concentration. I had to focus on listening to the songs to keep up with the music since it changed so frequently, but it was rather enjoyable.
The opener “Never Forget Your Token” creates a false-mood for the album, and by that I mean the rest of the album doesn’t sound anything like the first track, which could be good or bad. Personally, I prefer consistency while listening to an album, which this album does alright, just not with the first track. The second track “Creeps Crouchin’” particularly caught my attention. It’s exotic and has some industrial sounds, both in the drums and the background music. This song sets the mood better for this album and this almost unusual melodic element to the song creeps from track to track for pretty much the entire duration of the record. Blockhead begins to throw in different elements to the mix like his jazzy samples in “Meet You At Tower Records.” Again, not necessarily a bad thing, just a little off with the consistency.
Overall, the album is a little strange. Blockhead is one dynamic producer, I know that, but his strange sounds and eerie background noises are almost distracting from the beat itself, which should be more of a major focus in my opinion. Tracks like “Panic in Funkytown” and “Tools of the Industry” are just plain weird, but songs like “Beyond Reach” which features Baby Dayliner really give the album a likable feel. Blockhead is an acquired taste; a taste I’m not used to yet. To get a taste of Blockhead, however, I highly recommend you listen to either “Creeps Crouchin’” or “Tools of the Industry” to really get a listen for how odd yet creatively enjoyable this guy can get. Blockhead is an overall alright producer, this album just didn’t seem to do it for me.
MP3: Blockhead “Creeps Crouchin'”
If you enjoy Stone’s writing check out his website at Hip Hop Speakeasy