Blockhead The Art of the Sample

Blockhead The Art of the Sample
7
De Wolfe Production Music's library is home to almost a century's worth of pieces produced for television and cinema. New York-based hip-hop artist Blockhead is the latest to be invited in to produce an album sourced entirely from the collection.
 
It's a lovely bit of content marketing for De Wolfe, and the result this time out isn't at all bad. Blockhead delivers 14 nicely laid-back hip-hop instrumentals featuring nuggets sampled from years past. When it works — as it does on tracks like "Silky Serene," "Jellyfish" and "Eyes Open" — the combination of classic hip-hop beats with retro music styles is a lot of fun. When it doesn't — as on "Posse" and "Frank's Brother" — the effect is equal parts clichéd and grating.
 
Most of the tracks earn a thumbs up. But even when it works, the album has the feeling of an experiment, sort of a "betcha can't make a decent record with nothing but beats and our library" feel. Blockhead deserves full marks for having a go, and for producing a not-bad result. In the end, the project's focus on process first makes it more interesting than enjoyable. The Art of the Sample has been available for a while on streaming sites, but this will be its first vinyl pressing, available in a limited run. (Young Heavy Souls)