If you ask me, the debate between quantity and quality has long since been settled. It’s all about context. Sometimes more is preferable to better and vice versa. But if you’re ever lucky enough to get them at the same time, you’ll not soon forget it. This is what I bring you today, quantity and quality, in the form of the double LP Sights & Sounds by Tab & Anitek.
This beast of an album contains 50 tracks. I hope you won’t be intimidated though, as most of them are less than 2 minutes long, and they’re all quite good. In general, you get what you might expect from a hip-hop duo: eclectic samples, beats, a plethora of jazz instruments, and fancy turn-tables. But the album is anything but repetitive. It features styles ranging between soul, R&B, trip-hop, psychedelia, and at least one track that could be considered easy-listening (it’s all easy to listen to, but you know what I mean).
Deciding which tracks to share was no simple task. I had to use a play-off system just to narrow the pool before ultimately throwing darts to pick the winners.
The first is “MadHatter”. Clearly an allusion to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it suggests a psychedelic experience. And that’s precisely what we get. A Tweedle Dum bass and samples from the Mad Hatter himself get us going before we meet the Tweedle Dee drums. Spiced with warm feedback, an air horn, and a recorder (which is really fresh – I mean, how often do you hear a recorder? Not often, is the answer). The track is only 1:12 short, yet it’s anything but unremarkable.
“Three The Hard Way” starts with an old-timey sample before moving right into the beat and a groovy guitar. We get an intro next for a couple of “sexy songbirds” about to sing. They come out sounding like brass and steel. The last part of the song drops everything but the beat and closes with the brass. I must say, this 1:45-long track contains all that is good about jazzy hip-hop. My only gripe with it is how tragically short it is.
Last on my short list, and coincidentally on the album, is the track titled Kerouac. I’ve never read any Jack Kerouac, so I have no idea how significant the reference is, but the track is superb. It’s lighter than most of the other tracks and soulful. You get a sax and piano backed by an easy-going beat. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. But if I can be effusive for a moment, this song listens like the soundtrack to a perfect moment. Imagine you’re exhausted from a long week’s work and you’re walking the final few feet to your front door. But before you arrive, you look back – as though surveying the days gone by – when you’re stopped dead by the most exquisite sunset you’ve ever seen. This is the music you would hear in that moment.
And that’s just 3 of 50. There isn’t really any flow to the album, just a smorgasbord of great tracks. So, dig in already!
Tab & Anitek – “MadHatter”
Tab & Anitek – “Three The Hard Way”
Tab & Anitek – “Kerouac”
Sights & Sounds 2xLP release page at Dusted Wax Kingdom