Friday, July 11, 2008

Alias: Proof That Maine Is An Okay Place To Be Born

It's been three years since Portland, Maine native producer, beatsmith and sometimes rapper Alias has released an album (Lillian, with multi-instrumentalist brother Ehren), and even longer since he put out any proper solo work. That's a long time for an avid fan like myself to wait and thankfully side projects with the Anticon collective and Sage Francis have helped keep me sated. With his latest, Resurgam, set to release on September 2, here's a taste of what to expect: drums.

Anyone worried about a departure from his previous style, should rest assured. Alias is still producing some of the best melodic beats heard in years. Top 40 handclaps and snare hits are not to be found here. Oftentimes in my mind, the true defining standard for the goodness of a song has much less to do with danceability or headbangability than it has to do with satisfying drums. Alias comes through in that department in spades.

The majority of the album is instrumental, but several guest appearances mix things up a bit. Most notably, the recently released single "Well Water Black" features Yoni Wolf of WHY? fame taking care of the haunting vocal/rap requirement. This song has been in unbelievably heavy rotation on my iPod, but strangely, I don't seem to tire of it. The music (drum beat, xylophone, piano, etc. all building to a beautiful crescendo) is still at the forefront, with the low mixed vocals drifting in and out of the track, and as Yoni's chanted "I know I can do it better" drops through layers of distortion, it's hard not to believe he is echoing an Alias sentiment. The wait was worth it; this time he has.

mp3: Well Water Black (Feat. WHY?)



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