Mike Ladd Father Divine

Call it the surrealist movement of hip-hop but nothing sounds quite like this. Mike Ladd goes abstract, inspired by a desire to unleash his own interpretation of artists such as Bad Brains, Suicide, Lee "”Scratch” Perry and Badawi. Ladd delivers his adventures in experimental, dub minimalism with aplomb, rhyming over disparate elements of punk, electronica, psychedelia, blues, hip-hop and soul as tossed into a blender and served raw. The beats are uneven and jagged and the percussion often charges to forefront, joined for an instant by a bluesy guitar riff or shimmering synthesiser, before returning to the background. The stream of consciousness, often spoken word, lyrics stumble from Malcolm X’s dad on the porch to "suburban girls with impeccable taste” without needing to make much sense. Most of the album might feel hollow but it’s just sparsely populated and recorded in a way to capture an analogue cassette tape sound. "So and So” and "Just in Case” are the closest thing to hip-hop and their unorthodox approaches won't win over anyone not looking for something that dares to be different. (ROIR)