There’s a fairly solid new compilation out of purposefully instrumental beat-music, mostly hip-hop and dance but some verging into other areas, from lounge to flat out electronic. None of it is waiting around for someone to lay down a vocal; it’s all beats for beats’s sake. The set’s titled Beat Dimensions Vol. 1 and was compiled by Cinnaman and Jay Scarlett, with contributions from a host of drum-machine mavens. Cinnaman and Scarlett call the stuff “beatstrumentals”; on this website, it’s all categorized as “i-hop.” Fifteen of the album’s 23 cuts appeared over the course of three previous Beat Dimensions 12″s. It’s all a little far on the r&b side of the funk continuum (these producers learned a lot more from the Time than they did from the Bomb Squad), but the best of the material includes Aardvarck’s slowly stomping “Nose” and Simon Muschinsky’s funky “Activate,” as well as cuts by Super Smorky Soul and Pursuit Grooves.
To celebrate the collection’s release, its label, the Netherlands-based Rush Hour, had a little fun. At the promotional web page rushhour.nl/beatdimensions there’s a spinning little star burst, inside of which it reads “try to find the hidden beat.” And if you click on the correct elements in the album cover, it lights up like a pinball machine and a tasty, eminently loopable 41-second beat MP3, credited to SirOJ, is made available for free download — with synthy key swells, 8bit blips, and de rigueur modal flute elements. (SirOJ contributes an 8bit-influenced track to the album as Slumgullion.)
Other participants on Beat Dimensions Vol. 1 include , including Dimlite & Ill Dubio, J Todd, Up Hygh, Mweslee, Morgan Spacek, Hudson Mohawke, Dyno, Byron & Onra, Tom Trago, Hearin Aid, Flyamsam, Black Pocket, Veebeeo, Mike Tibbert, O. Boogie, and Sepalot. Liner notes were provided by Rafael Rashid, who was behind the book Behind the Beats. More info at Cinnaman-Scarlett’s myspace.com/beatdimensions. More on SirOJ at myspace.com/slumgullion.