Album Review: ambient hip hop: Hectic Zeniths, HECTIC ZENITHS

Photo credit: Kelsey Gold
Atmospheric. Ambient. Hip Hop. Words that perfectly describe Brooklyn-native, now Philly-based Hectic Zeniths‘ self-titled release. Crafting a “densely layered project,” musician Adam Morgan Prince created the anagram Hectic Zeniths from the German word ‘Zeitschtichten’ which means “layers of time”—which is apt for an album that is lovingly haunting through its layering of beautiful beats.

What sticks out the most is the fact that classical influences are strung about, along with original piano compositions to create a lush project that is organically fresh and smoothly hip hop. I’ve listened to it in my car, at home on a Sunday afternoon with the windows wide open, relaxing while reading a magazine; it’s that type of vibe: chill and undeniably made with love. Nearly three years in the making, it’s hard to pick a favorite tune because they all display a different type of beauty. But if I had to choose, my two favorites would be: “One That Got Away [Intro],” and “Know My List.”

Hectic Zeniths is available now on Bandcamp, Soundcloud as well as iTunes.

Record Store Day Purchase: Gold Panda, Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International/Notown)

Derwin Panda, otherwise known as Gold Panda is a London-bred electronica producer. Though Lucky Shiner, his debut album released in 2010; the vinyl wasn’t released until Record Store Day this year, April 16th–which is when I actually bought it. Comprised of minimalist instrumentals with a few hip-hop influences, Lucky Shiner is an LP best consumed while in chill mode. Case in point: I’ve written poems while it plays in the background. Favorites: “You”, “Same Dream China”, “Marriage” and “India Lately”.

Blockhead, THE MUSIC SCENE album review |

Having produced tracks for indie artists such as Aesop Rock, Murs and Mike Ladd as well as being a part of the music collective Fun Action Committee, Blockhead’s latest project is an eclectic mix of mellow tunes culled from a wide array of jazz, funk, and obscure vocal samples. Most notably, his use of Fapardokly’s 1966 classic, “The Music Scene” for the album’s name and title track.
With a heavy beat on the jump and a hint of drum n bass at the end, the intro song “It’s Raining Clouds” is a great journey into the Manhattan-bred DJ-producer’s mind. Anthony Simon blends hip hop with the smooth sensibilities of downtempo, making it a uniquely dope album.
Other standouts: “The Daily Routine” with its gritty beat and vulgar dialogue between what appears to be a couple in love (or not) is classic material. Not only does Blockhead create some fresh sounds, his knack for naming tracks is out of the ordinary: “Which One Of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer,” “The Prettiest Sea Slug,” “Tricky Turtle,” “Hell Camp” and “Farewell Spaceman.”
Nonetheless, as part of the UK-based Ninja Tune label, The Music Scene is the indie producer’s third LP, following Downtown Science (2005) and his solo debut, Music By Cavelight (2004).