Track of the week

Hunned Bandz

Tanukichan

Bastard Jazz / 2018
7.4

Nick & Astro's Guide to the Galaxy


Potatohead People

By: Dave Richards

Sometimes you’re going to get lost. It will happen. You look around and realize you don’t recognize a thing…and then you stumble onto something amazing. That hole in the wall burger joint. That great view of the city. That beach you didn’t even know was there. I took a wrong turn and discovered Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy by Potatohead People @Potatohead_Ppl. Now I’ve got the map to some deep space filled with smooth, mellow grooves.

Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, two Canadian producer/musicians familiar to the Vancouver and Montreal hip-hop/ambient music scenes, joined forces a few years back to form Potatohead People. With Nick & Astro’s Guide, their second full length release for the Brooklyn-based Bastard Jazz label, the duo has solidified its place in the ambient groove, abstract hip-hop galaxy. Influenced by jazzy, trippy beatmasters like the legendary J Dilla, Nick and Astro pilot through a sonic atmosphere that would feel at home in any chill lounge or neo-soul format.

The intro track, Late Show Theme, anticipates your disorientation with the question: “Potatohead People, ‘Cause you have to explain, Yeah, but who are they?” Lo-fi bass and high hat slides effortlessly into a laid back conversation between horns, keys and guitar before fading out on a mid-tempo jazz bop that offers a hint of what’s to come. The entire 12-track, 41 minute flight is filled with subtle switchbacks and tempo changes. Just when you think the stars looks familiar, our guides dip into a gentle change of course that keep you from knowing exactly where you’re headed.

Songs like No Sleep Til MTL, Returning the Flavour and El Himno del la Barberia lay down soulful clouds of sound. Talking with Gawd makes you wonder if you’ve reached heaven and then turns and shows you another wing of the mansion you may have missed on your way in. Rituals completes the journey with hypnotic chants of “nothing, nothing, nothing…any, any, any, any,” and sends you right back for another trip around.

Even in space, no good road trip is complete without some friends. Guests including Vancouver artists Kapok, Moka Only and others fill out the galaxy with haunting love vibes and slices of abstract hip-hop. Quest for Love reminds you not to lose your individuality on the road to love. Liftin’ Up is an anthem to positive thinking. Bastard Jazz label mate Illa J @illaj, formerly of Slum Village and the younger brother of J Dilla, shows off his slow it down rap and vocal skills on three of the album’s 12 tracks. All Alone and Change of Heart are reminders relationships go wrong. On Do My Thing, his phrasing makes you wonder if you’re listening to Big Boi’s northern cousin:

We naked, Kama Sutra
On the spaceship with Medusa
While I make hits for the future

The entire album is a joyful noise built for comfort, some good headphones and your herbal refreshment of choice, but I did say you might stumble onto something amazing. “Morning Sun,” featuring Danish soul singer Nanna B @LoBudgetChild, is the soundtrack of your best dreams. Lilting waves of layered vocals roll seductively on a bed of neo-soul perfection that invites you to climb in. Vocal backfills Erykah Badu would be proud of punctuate the sound, demand your attention and refuse to let go. I am ashamed to admit I had never heard of Nanna B before discovering this song. My knowledge of soulful artists from her corner of the galaxy began and ended with Sweden’s Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon. (You may know her from the song “Empire Ants” by Gorillaz.) Part of a growing legion of Scandinavian soul (yeah, I said it) artists, Nanna B has traveled from her native Denmark to dive into the L.A. music scene, working with such notable artists as Anderson .Paak and Hodgy of OFWGKTA. We should say thanks.

Overall, if you’re into ambient, downtempo trip hop sounds, find time for this album. If you’ve had a stressed out day and want to come down off the ledge, find time for this album. Potatohead People have firmly established themselves as an act I want more from and Nanna B’s career has become something I want to get lost in. Don’t worry about taking the wrong turn. It’ll be all right.

Standout Tracks: Morning Sun (Nanna B), Talking with Gawd

Nick & Astro's Guide to the Galaxy


Potatohead People

By: Dave Richards

Bastard Jazz / 2018
7.4

Sometimes you’re going to get lost. It will happen. You look around and realize you don’t recognize a thing…and then you stumble onto something amazing. That hole in the wall burger joint. That great view of the city. That beach you didn’t even know was there. I took a wrong turn and discovered Nick & Astro’s Guide to the Galaxy by Potatohead People @Potatohead_Ppl. Now I’ve got the map to some deep space filled with smooth, mellow grooves.

Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical, two Canadian producer/musicians familiar to the Vancouver and Montreal hip-hop/ambient music scenes, joined forces a few years back to form Potatohead People. With Nick & Astro’s Guide, their second full length release for the Brooklyn-based Bastard Jazz label, the duo has solidified its place in the ambient groove, abstract hip-hop galaxy. Influenced by jazzy, trippy beatmasters like the legendary J Dilla, Nick and Astro pilot through a sonic atmosphere that would feel at home in any chill lounge or neo-soul format.

The intro track, Late Show Theme, anticipates your disorientation with the question: “Potatohead People, ‘Cause you have to explain, Yeah, but who are they?” Lo-fi bass and high hat slides effortlessly into a laid back conversation between horns, keys and guitar before fading out on a mid-tempo jazz bop that offers a hint of what’s to come. The entire 12-track, 41 minute flight is filled with subtle switchbacks and tempo changes. Just when you think the stars looks familiar, our guides dip into a gentle change of course that keep you from knowing exactly where you’re headed.

Songs like No Sleep Til MTL, Returning the Flavour and El Himno del la Barberia lay down soulful clouds of sound. Talking with Gawd makes you wonder if you’ve reached heaven and then turns and shows you another wing of the mansion you may have missed on your way in. Rituals completes the journey with hypnotic chants of “nothing, nothing, nothing…any, any, any, any,” and sends you right back for another trip around.

Even in space, no good road trip is complete without some friends. Guests including Vancouver artists Kapok, Moka Only and others fill out the galaxy with haunting love vibes and slices of abstract hip-hop. Quest for Love reminds you not to lose your individuality on the road to love. Liftin’ Up is an anthem to positive thinking. Bastard Jazz label mate Illa J @illaj, formerly of Slum Village and the younger brother of J Dilla, shows off his slow it down rap and vocal skills on three of the album’s 12 tracks. All Alone and Change of Heart are reminders relationships go wrong. On Do My Thing, his phrasing makes you wonder if you’re listening to Big Boi’s northern cousin:

We naked, Kama Sutra
On the spaceship with Medusa
While I make hits for the future

The entire album is a joyful noise built for comfort, some good headphones and your herbal refreshment of choice, but I did say you might stumble onto something amazing. “Morning Sun,” featuring Danish soul singer Nanna B @LoBudgetChild, is the soundtrack of your best dreams. Lilting waves of layered vocals roll seductively on a bed of neo-soul perfection that invites you to climb in. Vocal backfills Erykah Badu would be proud of punctuate the sound, demand your attention and refuse to let go. I am ashamed to admit I had never heard of Nanna B before discovering this song. My knowledge of soulful artists from her corner of the galaxy began and ended with Sweden’s Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon. (You may know her from the song “Empire Ants” by Gorillaz.) Part of a growing legion of Scandinavian soul (yeah, I said it) artists, Nanna B has traveled from her native Denmark to dive into the L.A. music scene, working with such notable artists as Anderson .Paak and Hodgy of OFWGKTA. We should say thanks.

Overall, if you’re into ambient, downtempo trip hop sounds, find time for this album. If you’ve had a stressed out day and want to come down off the ledge, find time for this album. Potatohead People have firmly established themselves as an act I want more from and Nanna B’s career has become something I want to get lost in. Don’t worry about taking the wrong turn. It’ll be all right.

Standout Tracks: Morning Sun (Nanna B), Talking with Gawd