Posted on August 31st, 2011 (3:40 pm) by Bradley Hartsell

Even for a seventy-five minute album, I think we can hit this pretty quickly and have time to make the buffet while all the food is still hot. As a rising star producer, Gramatik loads up our computer space with the unveiling of an album full of his most polished work. Gramatik's world is based in smooth, funky and soulful hip-hop beats, perfect for chilling out and head nodding. He's clean--more likely to indulge the airy nature of the synth than opt for a grimed-out bass line. Beatz & Pieces is steeped in repetition, full of fully formed tracks where he lets samples be his voice. The samples vary between straight singing replicas, and manipulated voices, like the high-pitched female voice on many Kanye tracks.

Gramatik carefully arranges everything, placing samples in distinguishable places, but never letting it distract from his true creation--the beats. On the skipping, glimmering "Skylight," you could just hear Mr. West himself dropping something profound on the world, backed with the power of a colossally smooth beat. Gramatik's affinity for soul, blended with the groove of hip-hop is most prevalent on the bubbly "Like You Do," led by a manipulated voice stuttering the melody "I didn't know that you loved me / like you do."

The lushness is pretty remarkable on Beatz. The bass and percussion are reserved but poignant (except when the bass steps out to manhandle a funk number); the synths often carry the melody, all confidently airy and sparse. Guitars and piano chip in whenever the music needs some sprucing up. Instead of cashing in on new trends, Gramatik favors the '70s vibe, as evident on "Portorose in July," an old-school funk track if there ever was one. Those interested in soul, beat-mastering, chill hip-hop, and/or cool nostalgia, this is as good as it gets. Beatz & Pieces Vol. 1 is affable, accesible, and intricate. Gramatik controls all the moving parts beautifully and shows us all why he's rising to the top of his field so quickly.

Track List:
1. DreamBIG
2. On the Boardwalk
3. While I Was Playin' Fair
4. So Much for Love
5. Good Evening Mr. Hitchcock
6. Skylight
7. Like You Do
8. Portorose in July
9. Somebody
10. Break Loose
11. The Drink is Called Rakija
12. Make You Better
13. Is It Over
14. Happiness on a Leash
15. Moar Jive
16. Friday
17. This Monolith

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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