Module's Rad, Mad Electro; Tulsi's Golden Age Rap Revamp
Seattle producer David Farrell's Module project works in that diminishing field of electro that conjures ominous atmospheres through analog gear. His tracks on the forthcoming full-length Clouded Descent (which still doesn't have a label) recall the ill robotic funk cranked out by mysterious Detroit artists like Drexciya, AUX 88, Dopplereffekt, Ectomorph, and Elektroids. Queasy synth tones and irritable bass frequencies oscillate and spasm over forbidding funk beats. Against the odds, Module's futuristic expressions—transported from the 1990s' electronic-music vanguard's vision of the future—still scintillate.
Farrell eschewed audio editing and VSTs for Clouded Descent, creating all 13 cuts with hardware manufactured by Jomox, DSI, Technosaurus, Nord, and Electro- Harmonix. (I'll wait for the gear geeks among you to wipe the drool off your keyboards.) The results show the extreme care Farrell's taken over a four-year period (2002–2006) to craft these pieces. But Farrell stresses that "the live set is a more stripped-down, beats-and-riffs version of my sound—more similar to the track 'Requiem' that I posted on the Module MySpace page."
For a while, there was talk of Ectomorph's Brendan M. Gillen releasing some of Farrell's tracks on his Interdimensional Transmissions label, but it didn't pan out. It's kind of strange that this music remains in release limbo, but it still carries a sort of covered-in-Motor-City-industrial-grime intrigue that will resonate especially among analog-forever types.
Seattle MC Tulsi doesn't receive the degree of shine some other local rappers attract, but his mic skills are tight and deserve to puncture many more receptive ears than they're currently reaching. Tulsi's hiphop persona is an everyman going through everyday struggles, an underdog striving to overcome mundane shit that gnaws away at a significant chunk of the population on the regular. On his two full-lengths—2006's Fresh Points on Life and 2007's Waterflow—Tulsi benefits from his producers' true-school funk imbued with soul that's gimmick- and bling-free. This approach is exemplified by "The Bullet" (from Waterflow). Producer Confidence—a solid Premier/Pete Rock/Large Professor disciple—buttresses Tulsi's True Crime tale with slick Bo Hansson–ian guitar licks, distant Rotary Connection–esque female backup vocals, and one of those funk breaks for which collectors spend three figures to score the original 7-inch from where it derives.
Tulsi currently has two releases ready for mastering in December: the Nothing to No.One EP (produced by the great loco local beatmaker Specs One) and his third full-length, Cold Smoke. They're part of his master plan to burnish those Golden Age hiphop verities to an even higher gleam.