December 30th, 2008 11:41am

Hot As The Earth’s Core

Black Milk featuring Colin Munroe “Without U”

When people bitch about “haters” holding them back, it’s easy to be suspicious and wonder if they’re just egomaniacs who cannot handle any form of criticism, or if they are actually dealing with toxic, negative people who are genuinely undermining their happiness and creativity. In the case of “Without U,” I’m inclined to feel that Black Milk was actually dealing with the latter. This could easily be an excessively bitter and angry song, but mostly, he just sounds relieved and eager to move on. Even if this were an instrumental, the light, airy bounce of the track would still express that feeling of a weight lifted off of one’s chest.

Buy it from Amazon.

Flying Lotus featuring Dolly “RobertaFlack”

The critical success of this Flying Lotus record comes as something of a surprise, at least in the sense that I didn’t realize so many of my peers were eager for new iterations on trip-hop. As an album, Los Angeles is comforting and functional background music — it maintains a steady groove, and its sound feels classy yet slightly perverse. Upon closer inspection, many of its tracks reveal subtle charms, mainly in the form of intriguing textural clashes, rhythmic shifts, and samples that temporarily stray from its primary palette of tones. The most effective tracks include vocals, or some other emotive element — too much of the album floats along in a stoned haze, but its gradual drift toward more expressive and communicative tracks is a nice trick in and of itself.

Buy it from Amazon.

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