Tommy Guerrero and Gadget Hoy Yen Ass'n

Former pro-skater Tommy Guerrero has teamed-up once again with Function 8 head-honcho Gadget, and has unleashed a down-tempo, hip-hop soaked record. With Guerrero on upright bass and guitar, and Gadget taking turntable duties, Hoy Yen Ass'n is a good blend of programmed loops and beats as well as off-the-wall live. Guerrero, though he claims to have been a musician all his life, has pulled off a fantastic crossover from the world of skateboarding to the studio and he doesn't come off sounding forced or misguided. Tracks like "Deep Sleep" are very similar to some of the Beastie Boy's funked-up jams, complete with a chunky wah-wah and continual bass lines. And the haunting "Mechanism" is proof of what Guerrero and Gadget can pull off together - a sensational track with dripping beats over what sounds like a football crowd cheering and a Money Mark sounding vocal from John Gold. The instrumental version of "Mechanism," along with "Weed on the Tree, Forty on the Floor," stand atop the rest as the strongest cuts on a very strong album. Both songs show Guerrero and Gadget's impressive ability at creating a severely forceful instrumental song - something to fit alongside DJ Krush or the Herbaliser. Even moments of silliness don't seem to spoil this blend, like "Out The Village," an old-school freestyle moment that might have taken place after much consumption in a kitchen. Somehow it still seems to link-up with the flow of the record. Hoy Yen Ass'n is a very complete and impressive dose of West Coast living - the soundtrack for a sunny Saturday afternoon at the beach. (Function 8)