Blah Records continue their consistent dominance of all things hip-hop with the release of ‘Anxiety Skits’, the new instrumental project from Sam Zircon, a producer who has worked with a host of the heaviest names in British hip-hop including Black Josh, Cappo, Stinkin Slumrok and many more. This newest LP finds him taking a more quirky and experimental approach than much of his previous work, and the varies sonic influences and soundscapes stretch across thirty different cuts which exhibits Sam’s sampling chops and unique musical direction.
With the bassy, lo-fi ‘Tranq’ providing a great introduction to the vibe of the project, Sam’s subtle chops and leftfield resourcing is intoxicating from the outset. The smoked out, slow-paced vibe of the beats on ‘Anxiety Skits’ are trance-inducing, and the gritty, grimey bassine of ‘Narrrgh’, which is laced with an off-kilter selection of synths and ambient samples. The weirded out ‘Take It Or Leave It’ is a definite highlight; the crunchy boom bap-esque drums, the feel it in your face bass, and basically, the wind, combine to result in a thoroughly absorbing instrumental. The pounding ‘Chopstick Splinters’ is one of the more traditional hip-hop numbers on the project, and the sparse baseline and stuttered snares make for a hard-hitting head nodder.
The off-key, spooky and clunky keys on ‘Broking’ are exceptional, and the moody production, just out of earshot vocal samples and crisp percussion are classily executed by Sam Zircon on this standout cut. The mellow ‘Evening In The Swamp’ is restrained and effective, and the following track ‘No Knocking’ is a hypnotic loop laced with great jazzy brass samples to keep the neck snapping. The tripped-out vocal on ‘Who Are You’ is dope, as is the simplistic, tight drum pattern, ‘You Know The Story’ is another cut with a dusty, lo-fi vibe and the short reflective, somber sample-based ‘Au Reservoir’ rounds the beat-tape off.
This is one for more than your traditionalist hip-hop heads. If you’re a fan of Blah’s output you’ll enjoy this for sure, and if you’re looking for instrumentals that take a different direction from standard drums and soulful samples ‘Anxiety Skits’ is packed to the brim with them. If you do like that tried-and-tested formula I’m sure that this will be of interest too. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be boxed in and check this one out, it’s well worth it.
By Sam Bennett