Review ·

South African producer Markus Wormstorm makes a strong first impression with these four instrumental cuts from New York's forward-looking hip-hop imprint Sound-Ink. His beats for Constructus Corporation and the Real Estate Agents might be the talk of Capetown, but his upcoming full-length is where he'll establish himself in wider circles. Wormstorm's amalgam of considered ambient sources and finely textured percussion displays a touch of allegiance with that U.K. grime/eski sound. But this isn't an ass-moving exercise people -- it's a detailed workout plan.

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Opener "Hookers" thrives on interplay from scattering Jetson family airboat swerves and a thick gooey mess of a beat. Its chiming atmospherics share a light, airy quality that suggests "garden party," but the bounce-n-crash tactic employed is straight glass-shattering menace. The Mandi remix of "Books Books Books" brings to mind a fortuitous collision on the low-end FM radio dial when a full-sailed string section cruises in to overwhelm the stuttering syncopated break-beat.

More brilliance is displayed on "The Real Estate Agents"; the intro features a swift maraca oscillating between stereo channels until a Rascal-ian beat provides fodder for South African DMC scratch-master Sibot to cut a meandering, slovenly path of chirping sighs straight through the gut. Along with Push Button Objects and Boom Bip, this is headphone hip-hop schooled in the nuance of contemporary electronica, all its loose ends frayed and delightfully displayed.

- 2004

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