Paris Zax – Unpath’d Waters
For those still in the dark Alpha Pup is the label from all round hip hop production genius Daddy Kev, a man who has almost single handedly fuelled the west coast rap underground since the demise of the Freestyle Fellowship in the mid nineties. Now in 2005 comes his label which is gonna blow up and give labels like Mush and Anticon a serious run for their money. Though this initial offering bypasses the abstract waters for the solo debut album from another producer who has so far blessed leftfield rap pioneers like Bus Driver and Shape Shifters. In the flavoursome mixdown are elements of hip-hop, jazz, blues and psych rock, direct from the heart of Los Angeles underground hip-hop, blurred lines between samples and live instrumentation – a skill not to be underestimated. In the live instrumentaion Paris pulled some heavy strings bringing in firstly the wicked loose and bluesy guitar of Will Dog (Ozomatli) and even more amazingly jazz legends Bob Elford and Snooky Brown (gigged with Duke Ellington no less and featured on many classic Verve sides). One listen to tracks like ‘High Tide’ and ‘Mescaline Flowers’ and you’ll throw all your other downtempo albums into the trash (well you’ll be seriously tempted). Mixed to so sweet perfection by Daddy Kev.