April January

producers: thaione davis

year of release: 2003
A wise man speaks when he has something to say. A foolish man speaks to say something. Thaione Davis decided to remain silent and let the music do the communicating on the curiously titled "April January" album. Which is a collection of instrumental songs, either long or short, that brush against a couple of different boarders between hip hop and all those other hybrids and bastards and unacknowledged relatives that sprang out of the hip to the hop. With the structures not going too far down the trip to confuse any heads with electronica currencies. Meaning, there's still a lot of organ asphalt grown boom in the bap.
And it works. Both his not talking, as well as the beats that come out of it. Because you can tell a difference to the last album, where the beats still had to cater to the occasional rhyming. With that off the back of Thaione, he's music progresses more naturally, and the sounds find good quality in the extra space they get assigned. That's how this draws you into its endzone, with you leaning back on your chair, simply bobbing along. With the structure at times being loose like on "Prelude", where the percussion certainly adds structure, but the random whining noise is keeping the song open. The drum programming of a "Afternoon In Greece" then even finds live character, before we hear the weather report thing on the piano sampling "Requiem For Stateway (Sounds Of The Bricks)".

1. Winter Springs
2. Prelude
3. Afternoon In Greece
4. Requiem For Stateway (Sounds Of The Bricks)

5. Mandolin Theatre

6. Camaraderie
7. 4:15 pm (Thursday)
8. Wheatherbreak
9. 29 February
10. The Verve
11. 40's In The Morning
12. The January Poem
13. March
14. Snowblind (Doubting Thomas)
15. Careless
16. Paper Mache
17. Sierra Leone
18. Vieux Piano
It's hard to pin point exactly the source of the songs. Especially the label you want to give the samples. There's certainly jazz in here (especially on "29 February"), but also an oriental sound ("Mandolin Thatre" and "Paper Mache", one of the best songs on here) or a violin on the previously mentioned "Requiem For Stateway (Sounds Of The Bricks)". There are horns on "4:15 pm (Thursday)" and a whole mixture of everything on "Snowblind (Doubting Thomas)". It's a wild mix and match, with the sounds contrasting each other, However also finding a common ground to benefit each other.
And as said, the tracks are either longer, up to twelve minutes (the nevertheless never boring "Vieux Piano"), but more often in the five to six minute spectrum. Or they are short. In the seconds rather than minutes. However, these short glimpses in another glimmer of an idea, are at times true precious little gems. Be it "The Verve" or "Careless" with the perfectly fitting voice samples, or "40's In The Morning" with another weather report.
With the conclusion being rather simple: this is excellent. Thaione truly grew with this task, coming with something unexpected and loveable. He's look into soundtracking the winter months, is cool, with too much heart to be cold. And just as much an enjoyed listening experience in the Summer months as is it is from April to January, or the other way around. Therefore it was quite a wise decision to let the music speak for itself.
review: tadah
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