Aim Hinterland

The response must have gone over well for Andy Turner's first record, Cold Water Music. Word must have spread and now he's followed it up with the help of hip-hop veterans Souls of Mischief and DITC's Diamond D. Lending rhyming duties to Aim's sophomore release, the MCs come off on two of Hinterland's best tracks. The Oakland teaming of Souls of Mischief run away with "No Restriction" and spit lyrics over xylophone-coated drum rolls while Diamond D brings the scale down to a more sinister beat and mysterious vocal sample. It's in the hip-hop tracks and instrumentals that Hinterland really tends to shine and leaves you wanting more, such as the organic-sounding "Fall Break," with constant violin lining the hi-hat-heavy jazz break topped off with a lyrical MC sample. Hinterland reaches highs and lows just like Cold Water Music did previously, but it's a case where the highs are soaring and the lows are just bumps in the road. After two albums now, Turner is bound to nail his epic gem sooner rather than later. (Grand Central)