UK Hip Hop: International
Herbaliser ft. Blade - Time To Build CD [Ninja Tune]
The Herbaliser, ninja production team famed for instrumentals and their hook ups with other artists, have this time collaborated with Blade, who is coming off the back of his work with Mark B and Phi Life Cypher. These tracks make up the third single taken from the outstanding Something Wicked This Way Comes, their fourth long player. The first track is Time To Build which features longtime stalwart of the UK underground - Blade, who has his own unique vocal style which he has been perfecting for years and absolutely no-one can dispute he can flow. Just some will say it is a bit simplistic, and is delivered with little variation from track to track, but he has been doing it for so long now he isn't going to change now. Never the less No-one can argue that it doesn't sound well good. So for this single you get the original album version, which features classic Horn stabs, snippets of tinkly piano and there is even a triangle in there. The Herbs display their well practised methods of beat construction and you are left with heavy straight up Hip Hop. Notts residents, the P Brothers are enlisted to provide their re-workings and deliver quite a substantially different sounding backing track. Much more busy, the snares are louder, there are more of them, and they are relentless. The intro's bass sound sounds like the first few milliseconds of Karl Hind's Don Gramma and there is some Soul Clap type sax in there too. Generally this mix is heavy in the mid range frequencies and has a late 80's sort of feel with its raucous horns. There is an instrumental of this too.

Also on the single is the Distinguished Jamaican English track which features Luton's fast spitting Phi Life Cypher and is remixed here by the Herbaliser duo themselves. The track is much slower and easygoing than the previous and makes for a nice comedown. A sweet Hammond or Bontempi organ break is fused with big acoustic drum samples for a semi dreamy musical backing over which Si Philli and Life drop surprisingly restrained verses, only occasionally flipping into double paced rhyming, at other times simply delivering their lyrics with great clarity. As before there is an instrumental of this too.

So if you haven't picked up the LP yet, I would definitely suggest that you get this as a very decent introduction to what Oli Teeba and Jake Wherry are under. There is even enough different stuff on here to make it a worthy addition to your collection even if you have already got the album. The cover evokes a sort of 1930's Parisian feel with its Metro type font and Art Deco pattern design, maybe I missed the point of this as it didn't do too much for me, but it is different and pleasing enough. It has been a good period for Ninja Tune releases, lets hope they keep the quality coming in 2003.

Visit the Herbs on the web: www.herbaliser.com
Visit Ninja Tune on the web: www.ninjatune.net

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