Restored 24 March 2017, original 23 July 2015
Last time Anitek was featured on Netlabelism in late 2013, it was to cover his monster 50-track double-LP Sights & Sounds (produced in collaboration with Tab). Put simply, Sights & Sounds was the embodiment of quality and quantity. So much so that at least two of us at Netlabelism put it in our top 3 albums of the year.
Now, Anitek is back with his latest release Luna. While not as enormous as the previous album, Luna boasts an impressive 33 tracks of its own. Most importantly, Anitek has upheld his reputation for producing quality music. Every track has something to like, and for most, something to love. On top of that, the variety is astounding. Of course, the hip-hop backbone is common throughout, because that’s the artist’s thing. Moving beyond that, however, Luna dips its toes into genres from all across the musical spectrum, illustrating Anitek’s versatility as a producer.
The opener, “Dark City (feat. Sarah Grey)” has a dance pop vibe. Silky, seductive female vocals bring the track into existence with the lyrics “City gets dark, lights go down, reflecting your eyes, I can feel your love.” Deep bass kicks in followed by high hats and a steadily rising tempo. Electronic effects fill in any cracks, and by now you’re moving, and you keep moving until the dark city wakes up.
“Back To Me”, produced with Tab, has an old-timey jazz feel with splashes of digitalism. Dusty samples and a wide array of instruments (trumpets, flutes, cellos, pianos) fill the musical space. In my opinion, it ends before it really gets going, but it’s nonetheless strong.
“Broke Inside My Mind (feat. Ellie Griffiths)” keeps the classic jazz vibe going, but supplements it with yearning, spoken-word lyrics. “You wrote inside my mind and you wrote your name on all the walls inside, inside. Yeah you wrote your name on all the walls inside.”
Shifting gears, “Birdman” takes us through a realm of highly electronic hip-hop with turn-tables, ample manipulations, and samples from The Twilight Zone and what sounds like an old, poorly-dubbed Kung Fu movie. “Cheetah Chase” continues this theme, but ramps up the tempo with loads of fast-paced percussion and a grimy saxophone that reminds me of the Pink Panther. Here and there, the tempo slows to a crawl, just long enough to draw you in before flying off the rails again.
In “French Mellow”, Anitek and his boy Frenic juxtapose the stereotypical French café vibe (think turn-of-the-20th-century vocals and acoustic guitars) with their vinyl scratching proclivities.
One of the albums highlights is “Foolish Human”, another collab with Tab. The tempo is turned down again while the soundscape explodes outward with a plethora of spacey effects, loops, and the oft-repeated sample “The human was a fool.” It feels like hurtling through psychedelic space with nothing but the beat for fuel. What a ride.
“Heartbreakers” bends around your brain, twisting through every ridge and groove, tweaking untouched neurons. This one also ends too soon.
When you get to “Road Work”, you’ll probably be surprised by the change of mood. It starts heavy into drum and bass, like something The Prodigy might make. Roughly halfway through this 79-second track, the blurred intensity begins to drop out in stages, leaving nothing but silence by the end.
Another highlight on the track is “Shame”. To hear it is to think of 1960s and ’70s rock replete with vocals and stringed instruments (especially electric guitars) that sound like something The Beatles might’ve made. This is perhaps the least hip-hop track on Luna, but again, this just speaks to Anitek’s quality as a producer.
“Both Sides” delves into the dark side of jazz. Heavy, resonant bass and eerie effects and melodies carry the day on this one.
There’s even a glitched out dub track. It’s called “Negatives” and was produced in collaboration with Shuvoyoshi.
The album closes with “Time2Spare”, a track that sounds more like alt-rock than anything else. I’m tempted to say it’s out of place on the album, but after hearing everything else Luna has to offer, I say why the heck not.
Like its predecessor, Luna is highly appealing and highly accessible. And, like its predecessor, Luna is easily a contender for album of the year.
Anitek – “Dark City (feat Sarah Grey)”
Anitek – “Foolish Human”
Anitek – “Shame”