Head nodding blunted beats from Spectateur
Some head noddingly good blunted hip hop instrumental from Spectateur on his debut album Yateveo.
Spectateur is from Angers in Western France. Not the most obvious place for some instrumental hip hop but this album is rather fine. There’s plenty of lazy blunted beats to be found and spliffed out atmosphere abounds. It’s all rather Ninja Tricknology and more than a whiff of Grand Central Records, for those that want a 90s point of reference.
The album title is from J. W. Buel’s Sea and Land (1887), the ya-te-veo (“I-see-you”) plant is described as being native to Africa and Central America, and having “stems” that resemble “many huge serpents in an angry discussion, occasionally darting from side to side as if striking at an imaginary foe,” while attempting to consume humans. There are 11 tracks on the album, 9 of which are instrumentals. And what we’ve got is a dystopian vision of man v nature.
Intro asks us “Can you hear it?” before the beats drop in. Early Birds mixes those phat beats with strings and female vocal samples, gradually gaining in intensity. Cascade steps back a little, with sensuous strings. GMOS is the first vocal track, with Jeremiah Bonds. This bemoans the state of hip hop and society.
Sorry has a more jazzy feel, accentuated by its French samples. Circles is a great melange of marching drums, guitars and strings in a euphoric whirl. Bipolar Every Days has a North African skirl to the disorientated track.
Tradition is the second vocal track. It’s in French and comes across as too generic. Smiling Bullet saws the strings but to no great effect. Good Times starts to draw the album to a close. The end comes with Skylus which provides a dreamy close.
This album is free or pay what you want. There’s lots here to enjoy, even though a little pruning would have improved it.