We’ve all heard the line before. You know, the one about true hip hop being deep and meaningful with lyrics promoting peace and sincerity and how we should all turn our nose up at the masochistic braggadocia abounding from chart rap. But where does that leave instrumental hip hop? Thankfully, in the capable hands of Paul White.
Having already released two EPs – ‘One Eye Open EP’ and ‘The Punch Drummer EP’ – as well as his extremely accomplished ‘The Strange Dreams Of Paul White’ full length, the South London based producer has steamed ahead of his peers this year with his lethal mix of psychedlia and dystopian soundscapes. With a new EP being released in November and a new album set for early 2010, he’s clearly not about to rest on his laurels.
Equally at home making fluid beats such as the EP’s title track ‘The Punch Drummer’ as he is making Dilla-influenced bangers like ‘Burnt By The Sun’, Paul White’s production is one which captures a multitude of tastes. Hell, anyone that can put King Crimson samples into a hip hop beat and not have it sound like some desperate attempt to show coolness deserves a listen as much as anyone.
It’s extremely difficult to describe White’s sound in a few paragraphs. Should the samples be delved into in infinite detail? Should the numerous curveballs that are thrown in across the 21 tracks on his album be examined? Doing either of these things would surely result in an Itchy and Scratchy style head explosion, yet there is such a magnetic pull to White’s music that it’s impossible not to try and pick apart why it’s so interesting to listen to.
Perhaps the best thing to do would be to wash the thoughts clear and simply listen. There may not be the chance to have an intimate relationship with lyrics, which get chins stroked and fingers wagging, but there are certainly more than ample opportunities to realise why this man is special. He’s doing something fresh and ultimately it’s his couldn’t-care-less attitude about what’s cool that makes the music stand out.
As if the music wasn’t enough to get people interested, the album was made available to buy in a hand-stamped pillowcase. A pillowcase! With ingenuity like that from the ever-impressive One Handed Music label, it’s impossible to not give these beats the time of day. It isn’t just for hip hop heads, though they are sure to love it too, it’s for those that appreciate beautifully arranged songs, something this man has in spades. Best producer in the UK? He may very well be.