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Album Review

Madlib as Beat Konducta: The Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2: Movie Scenes
Stones Throw
Produced by Madlib
Mastered by Kelly Hibbert and Dave Cooley

5 out of 5 mics

The Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2: Movie Scenes is an album comprised of 35 short instrumental "songs" (more accurately described as beats I suppose). Most run between 1 and 2 minutes in length. This album is perfect from start to finish. More hip-hop albums should be created like this. These are not the "skits" that you find littering half of the hip-hop albums on the racks. These are powerful little gems, packed with instrumentation and creativity. And this shi* will have you nodding your head for a full hour. Need I say more? Alright.

These beats, while seemingly put together as an almost-but-not-quite mix album, are each small masterpieces unto themselves. There are no rhymes over any of the beats and I couldn't be happier about it. Madlib makes ample use of vocal samples, but they're fully incorporated into the beats, and do not ride on top of or step all over them.

On Beat Konducta, Madlib is sticking with what he does best - dirty, lo-fi beats slathered with fuzzy, spaced-out organs, topped with jazz/funk/soul samples. Nobody does this better than Madlib. Dilla set the bar with Donuts, just months prior, but Madlib came along and raised it (no doubt motivated by Dilla's innovation).

It's difficult to get a read on exactly how much sampling is used on Beat Konducta. Madlib has quite an array of analog synths, organs, and keyboards, so my suspicion is that he's playing a lot of this stuff himself, then sampling and tweaking it. Certainly there are horn licks and vocals flying around here that have been culled from vinyl, but they're so well EQ'd they sound like they could have been recorded for this album. The music lends itself to a hip-hop style mix (heavier low-end) but more of a jazz style mastering. The overall sound is round and smoothed out - no overly amped highs or lows.

If you're familiar with Madlib's work on Madvillian and Yesterday's New Quintet, then you're sure to dig this album.