Various Cool Like The Pulse Of A Corpse

Takaba Records is an international, artist collective-run label based out of Toronto, but with hubs of operation in London, UK and Tokyo, and contributions from Honolulu, Hawaii and Riga, Latvia. Their label sampler, Cool Like The Pulse Of A Corpse, collects previously released and upcoming tracks to give a taste of their sound, which is described by their website as "rooted in hip-hop, but not confined to it." Riga's Beyond The Borders may be the most extreme example of this, blending Atari Teenage Riot with Beastie Boys for "Mentl," but Tokyo's Kaigen is just as aggressive, with his El-P-styled, self-produced "Empty Treasure Chest." On the smooth tip, Kemistry singer-songwriter Kemi gives partner Bare Beats' jazzy, down-tempo hip-hop production a trip-hop vibe whether solo ("Plug In Baby") or just through the hook ("The Core," with Toronto's Apollo Creed), and Guelph's Noah 23 contributes two melancholy indie pop collaborations with singers/producers Jim Guthrie ("Torn Again") and Ceschi ("Faded"). While a few of the more traditional hip-hop tracks get lost amongst the boundary pushing ones, there are also standouts, including Toronto rapper Modulok's declaration of love over a smooth Leon Murphy beat ("Your Boyfriend's a Cokehead") and his warning to whack MCs ("Ominous," produced by L.A. underground legend Omid), as well as Noah 23 and Baracuda rhyming over MadAdaM's steel drums ("Steel Drum") and Pucker Oats' chill Pharcyde vibe ("Blue"). The variety makes for a bumpy listen, but Cool Like The Pulse Of A Corpse demonstrates a young, up-and-coming collective of artists that have the talent to be heard. (Takaba)