Blockhead Interludes After Midnight

Blockhead Interludes After Midnight
With the second wave of instrumental hip-hop gaining much attention, thanks to high-profile releases by AraabMUZIK, Clams Casino and DJ Burn One, it's easy to look back at the early '00s as year zero for this long-underappreciated genre. Much like instrumental hip-hop's holy trinity ― DJ Shadow, J Dilla and Madlib ― Blockhead helped define an entire sub-genre (the Def Jux sound), just without the credit. With Interludes After Midnight, his fifth LP and first since 2009, the Manhattan producer politely resists the urge to buddy up with his new contemporaries. Keeping things low-key, unfussy and linear, tracks like "Hungover Like Whoa" and "Tools of the Industry" rely on fluffy rhythms that barely hover above his spiky beats. Working with gorgeously placed ("Meet You at Tower Records"), highly processed ("Midnight Blue") and traditionally structured ("Beyond Reach," featuring Baby Dayliner) vocal snippets, Blockhead shows how utilitarian music can evoke beauty and essence in single four-minute strokes. (Ninja Tune)