This week in the Midweek Music Mix we look at the latest releases from Ceeb Dread, Omnis and the soundtrack for the upcoming film, The Pugilist.
Ceeb Dread and Pebe Kafeen – CDPB Microbrewery
There’s an unavoidable disconnect that can occur when an album is created by two distinct voices separated geographically. There are countless reasons why some groups spend months working together in the studio crafting and shaping a collection of material. This process and the exchange of ideas that it inevitably generates is where, as they say, “the magic happens.” But the conception and creation of art is a process riddled with exception, and in some circumstances it’s the distance that makes it work.
For his latest full-length album, CDPB Microbrewery, Fredericton rapper Ceeb Dread teamed up with New York-based producer/beat maker Pebe Kafeen to create a batch of songs loosely themed around malts and grains and IBUs to put a little hops your hip hop (or is that now hip hops?).
CDPB Microbrewery is easily one of the better sounding of Dread’s many albums and singles. Kafeen’s beats provide Dread with a whole new sonic landscape to work from. The beats are huge and a refreshing departure from Dread’s past albums that may have always felt like they were trying to mimic the tone and style of some of the genre’s icons, often in overly blatant fashion. There may be considerable distance between these two musicians, but on this album there’s a lot of energy being generated.
Both lyrically and musically, the album has all the forward momentum that has shaped Dread’s better tracks. There are no uncomfortably long introductions on any of these songs which means the space for hit-or-miss lyrical filler is practically nil. As a result, the album has less “Ahh yeahs” and “That’s rights” at the start of each track. More often than not, it’s go-time from beat one.
Another key strength behind CDPB Microbrewery is the simple fact that across the album’s ten tracks, Dread avoids the temptation to sing pop melodies. Ceeb Dread is a rapper, not a pop singer, and while he has experimented with his fair share of mainstream pop-hop approaches to his craft, the results never truly worked in his favour. Kafeen’s beat construction leaves very little vacant space and when paired with a consistent uptempo delivery, his vision seems the ideal rhythmic configuration for Dread, by creating an environment that exists in constant motion.
While the album’s overall mixing at times seems a bit unbalanced with lyrical phrases often falling beneath the rhythm, CDPB Microbrewery is still undoubtedly one of Dread’s best albums so far.
Omnis – After Everything
Washes of sound drift between clean tones and near feedback on the title track off this latest release by New Brunswick’s Omnis. A gradual development of ideas bent on creating atmospheres for your meditative pleasure, this four track EP is all about the subtleties that can exist between minor shifts in tone. This concept is best represented on the EP’s third track, Summer’s End, a composition that almosts sounds as if it exists free from movement or change of any kind. A dominant pitch holds the structure firmly in place while minute shifts happen just beneath the surface.
After Everything is a challenging and rewarding listen in that, given the right circumstances (headphones and a distraction free listening environment), the listener is presented with a world of minimalism that is constantly evolving and changing shape while at the same time, holding closely to its original form. It’s an exercise in listening and one well worth the experience.
Scott Brownlee – The Pugilist (soundtrack)
Saint John-based composer Scott Brownlee has shared his complete soundtrack for the upcoming film, The Pugilist. As a standalone collection of music, these 24 compositions act as a pretty impressive introduction to Brownlee and his ability to create moods and environments with sound.
With this collection, Brownlee experiments with a variety of music styles dipping from atmospheric soundscapes to more structured forms of music. His arrangements for strings and piano make up some of the soundtrack’s strongest material, while his forays into Irish traditional music suffer slightly from the lack of authentic sounding instrumentation.
If variety is the order of the day, Brownlee has come out on top with this collection.
Watch for The Pugilist coming this fall.
Send us your Music!
If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com