Madlib- Sound Ancestors

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Vital Status: Alive & Well❤️

Fav Tracks: The Call, Road of the Lonely Ones, Dirtknock, Loose Goose, Two for 2- For Dilla, Duumbiyay

Least Fav: Hang Out (Phone Off)

Does anyone make instrumentation like Madlib? I think the answer would be no. Madlib is one of the great producers who has given us classics like Madvillainy, Pinata, and most recently Bandana. Having collaborative albums like the ones above seems simple when you have MF DOOM and Freddie Gibbs jumping on your beats. But, can you create an incredible instrumental record without these polarizing MCs? Sound Ancestors answers this question with an overwhelming YES. The styles of jazz, music of Africa, rock, soul, and hip-hop are all combined to create this 16 track 41 minute album that is very engaging even for listeners who might find instrumental records boring.

Madlib is a master of sampling and he uses different sounds so well. Whether, its the spoken sample used on “Theme De Crabtree”, the high vocal range singing from The Ethics on “Road of the Lonely Ones” that adds a sad desperation to the track, or even Snoop Dogg repeating Fo shizzle, dizzle on “Loose Goose” there’s nothing that sounds out of place. I can’t also forget about the sporadic chopped up samples on “Two for 2- For Dilla” that rarely form a sentence, yet Madlib finds a way to make it flow and be so coherent.

Not only are the samples incredible on Sound Ancestors, but, Madlib incorporating a multitude of genres like Trip Hop on “The Road of the Lonely Ones” and “Dirtknock” while bringing in world and African music on songs like “Loose Goose”, “Sound Ancestor”, “Duumbiyay” can only be done by one of the great producers.

Now, to break down some of my favorite tracks we start with “The Call”. The guitar line playing throughout sounds so warm and delivered with such purpose it gives me a feeling of awakeness and right off the bat the listener should feel like they are about to embark on a one-of-a-kind music journey with Lord Quas leading the way.

Next is “The Road of the Lonely Ones” and this has such a bleak laid back guitar sound coming in and out that it immediately reminded me of something off of Portishead’s Dummy record. Again, the singing from The Ethics creates an overall desperate longing tone and that feels lost in a cold world.

Possibly, my favorite track here is “Loose Goose”. The woodwind instrument sound used makes me feel as if I’m in one of those carnival fun houses with distortion objects. IDK why, but it does. The drums coming in finally grounds me and the Snoop sample is just fantastic throughout. The back end of this song breaks into this African music blend that is wild and engaging with uninhibited drums.

Moving towards the middle of this album we get “Hopprock”. This track starts out quite peaceful like a meditation with sounds of calm water and chimes leading the way. A voicemail machine takes us out of this meditative state and this all unfolds into a blend of guitar, drums, claps, and quick harmonic chants/singing.

Even the later half of this record holds up very well. Madlib just continues to throw so many remarkable sounds at the listener. From “Sound Ancestor” and “Duumbiyay” which features, again, music of Africa and jazz combinations, to “One for Quartabe/ Right Now” that starts out so frantic I’m not really sure how to describe it, and “Latino Negro” that features the Spanish guitar along with fast paced drumming, this album doesn’t waste any of the instrumentation used.

Madlib created something that has no exact bindings on music and where it comes from. Yes, sounds are taken from particular groups and genres, but, by bringing things together we get something new without losing its sense of origin. Sound Ancestors features about everything a listener can want from a great producer like Madlib and should even open people up to discovering more music they might enjoy.

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