Aamir Underwater Regions

Not venturing too far from his Escape Artists roots with his first solo outing, Aamir still brings a lot more of himself to the table for Underwater Regions. In his clipped rap style, Aamir gets introspective about love, life struggles as an artist, religion, regret and also hits on love a few more times before he’s done. The beats are multi-layered and melancholy, stocked with sad strings and piano, ethereal vocal samples and slow, plodding drum beats. It all comes together best on "Recovering Satellites,” a plea for life changes over a sombre but quirky Maki production, with a beautiful trip-hop hook courtesy of Ira. Geneva B also lends her singing voice to the hook of "City of Lights,” adding a different element to a posse cut that features heavy hitters 2Mex, Bigg Jus, K-the-I??? and Aamir’s fellow Escape Artist Xczircles, who also appears on a couple of other tracks, and assists with the mix on most of the album. Ex-EAers Trex and Amnesia also drop by for dope raps. While not designed for a casual listen, Underwater Regions gives a lot to work with for those who like to peel back the many layers of an artist and their music. (SIQ)