Published Sep 23, 2014After a decade-plus building a name in his hometown of London, ON, producer and DJ Fat Mike has finally released his debut album, albeit now using a new name. Drummachinemike is an appropriate choice, the drum machine obviously the backbone of this album, the beats primarily hard and heavy. Distortion and fuzz is applied effectively, the rest of the music composed of low end synth, quirky sounds and samples from around the world. The resulting music feels like the unorthodox hip hop of late '90s underground labels like Anticon, Wordsound and Def Jux, but neither dated nor contemporary. Instead, Mike has one foot firmly planted in the past while the other taps out a footpath to the future, pushing at the boundaries of hip-hop with his unorthodox beats.
Mike discards song structure — see his interlude almost three minutes into "Spare Parts" for a funny bit on that — weaving vocalists into the musical narrative almost on a whim, just teasing them. The vocalists are unique lyricists like Open Mike Eagle, who very nearly steals the show with his three spectacular solo appearances, but he has competition from Joe Dub, whose beautifully tight flow adds a killer finish to posse cut "The Law of Averages," also featuring Thavius Beck and Megabusive, while Noah 23 destroys "The Catapult" with just one verse. Additional appearances from 2Mex, EVS, Subtitle, Maleko and Matre, as well as singers Ceschi Ramos and Gregory Pepper, are all enjoyable. Hopefully the followup is faster, but as the title of the final track states, at least for Drum Machine Music, it's "Better Late Than Never." (Drum Machine Music)