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tag: i-hop

Tokyo Beat Playlist

Collecting the daily ritual of Hideyuki Kuromiya

After two days running posts of elegant beats by Tokyo-based Hideyuki Kuromiya, I corresponded with him, and asked if he might put together a playlist of his beats, so they’re all in one place and easy to follow. He graciously did just that, and he added a new beat for today, “hb24,” in which the vocal sample is more evident than in the prior two. That vocal is a bit of moaning melisma that is crunched between sandpaper percussion, vinyl-skip plosives, and a sharp short-circuit shock. I’m covering these three days in a row because while I occasionally report on regular woodshedding projects by folks like Madeleine Cocolas, Taylor Deupree, and Marcus Fischer, featuring such work in an immediate sequence does a better job of making an impression of the effort involved, which in Kuromiya’s case is daily.

Set of beats originally posted at More from Kuromiya, who is based in Tokyo, Japan, at

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More Tokyo Beats

Courtesy of Hideyuki Kuromiya

Another day, another beat from Tokyo-based Hideyuki Kuromiya. I mentioned here a beat by him yesterday, and to emphasize the studiousness inherent in his beat-a-day practice, I was glad today’s was as strong as yesterday’s. This time the pace feels even slower, more willfully plodding, the downtempo affect the result of an off-kilter plosive that feels like a heavy heel dragged rather than just set down on pavement. Sour keyboard notes and what sounds like a saxophone sample melting in thin air intersect in interesting ways. While yesterday’s track was a series of concise, self-contained instances, this is a much more layered and complex undertaking. Play it on repeat.

Track originally posted for free download at More from Kuromiya, who is based in Tokyo, Japan, at

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The Broken Beats of Laughing Khokmah

Atmospheric rhythmic incongruities

The Laughing Khokmah Ensemble has placed another fine set of gloriously broken instrumental hip-hop up on Bandcamp. Titled B Sides (drunk.), the set is all atmospheric rhythmic incongruities, from what sound like the clipped sonics of a video-game arcade of “Program.” to the echoed, darkly psychedelic funk of “Sphere.” to the strict surface-noise abstractions of “End.” It’s not all downtempo, by any means. “Aura.” plays with a threateningly cyborgian choral effect, and “Brutal.” employs a low-slung bass throb that could have been liften from a Bill Laswell live recording. The album, 17 tracks in all, is at at “name your price,” which allows for free download but, hey, how about chipping in a few bucks.

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Morton Feldman, Crate Dug

A beat built from the composer's "Triadic Memories"

An instrumental hip-hop beat crafted from a snatch of “Triadic Memories” by the late composer Morton Feldman, who is beloved for his extended and extravagantly silent music? Why yes, thank you. This is “Memory” by Bstep. It’s barely a minute in length and takes a single, five-note segment — a splinter, really — of Feldman’s celebrated solo piano work, and then lays it above a spare metric pulse. The added beat is so spare, so old-school, it might have been something that Feldman, who died in 1987, heard during a visit to Manhattan for a concert premiere in his later years. What makes “Memory” work is how it teases out of that final note of the five-note figure a thin wisp of sound that then lingers over the beat like a fog.

Track originally posted for free download at More from Bstep, aka Ben Stepner, at

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Random Access Beatcraft

From Philly's TLKE

The random-access beatcraft of Philly-based TLKE has more reference points than the appendix to a PhD disseration. It’s a constant flow of information, sometimes excitedly fractured, at others tribal in its processional metrics. It is always moving, always aborbing external sounds and from them making something new. Often as not the methods of production are turned into the sonic focal point, like the way vinyl textures and beat-loop seams are the cornerstones of “Moon Wrangles (Ripple Effect)” and how the unique skipping-CD flavor provides the salvo on “Exile Path.” Both those tracks are off the extravagantly titled The Abstract Reorganization of Subliminal Oneness by the Laughing Khokmah Ensemble, which is what the “TLKE” abbreviation expands to. The music brings to mind the abstract hip-hop of Arcka and Small Professor, TLKE’s fellow Philadelphians (both of whom, one directly and the other indirectly, introduced me to the music). Though it’s at times quite hypnotically intent in its almost solemn, deeply considered persistence, the album finds space for the kind of broken soul that Arcka and Small Professor often pursue. Just check out the glitchy claps and boomerang samples that make up “See of Time.” Tremendous stuff, throughout, all 22 tracks.

Album originally posed at “name your price” at

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