Dabrye Instrmntl Review

BBC Review

More avant hip hop stylings from Tadd Mullinix's Dabrye, released on Scott Herren's...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Last year, our office was rocked to its very foundations by the power of Tadd Mullinix's Dabrye project. Pretty much our top release of 2001, we knew that his follow ups would really have to push themselves to compete with One/Three.

So as you might expect, there was droola-plenty here in the office when the new Dabrye release came in the mail. With bated breath, we threw it into the CD player, cranked up the volume and waited to see what would happen.

Safe to say, Mullinix is not only back, but has taken the Dabrye project one step further into the world of experimental beat driven funk, offering us not a sequel to One/Three but rather a companion piece, taking everything we loved about the first and expanding its horizons into something just a little different.

Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Instrmntl is Mullinix's first release on Scott Herren's (Prefuse 73/Savath+Savalas) new Eastern Developments imprint and seems to serve as a little teaser to new material coming out later on this year.Here Mullinix uses more acoustic based samples rather than treated electronics, bringing a flavour of rich jazz inspired vibes to the album rather than just simply letting the beats do the talking.

Whereas One/Three was down, dirty and in your face, this new mini-LP is a bit more laid back than its predecessor. Mullinix's now patented sparse hip-hop world has been terraformed into something much friendlier, it's rivers and streams still instead of raging, a wide degree of playful objects dotted across its landscape. "Do the funk, do the funk - lock it in", the sample says and that's exactly what happens on tracks like "You Know The Formula Right?" and "D-Town Tabernacle Choir", bringing a massive Motown vibe to his often minimal production. The main instrument of choice is still the SP1200/MPC3000, but now it's not the only one that gets the soul stirring.

Instrmntl may well be about the funk (we defy anyone not to bounce to "Won"), but he does pull some surprises out of his magic hat - check out the old school electro styling on "Prospects (Marshall Law)" - bringing back the 87 sound to the fore (a tribute to Marshall Jefferson perhaps?) and the glorious deep acoustic bass vibe on "Take Me Home", whose only fault lies in the fact that it's a mere 1:45 long.

We want more!

With upcoming remixes of Trans Am and Jurassic 5 on the way, Tadd Mullinix is quickly becoming a major contender in the world of nouveau hip-hop. Although we love him on his own, it would be great to see him team up with someone like El-P or even Scott Herren himself and see what kind of crazy things they could come up with.

Even at their worst, it would still be worth hearing. Another winner from Dabrye?

You better believe it.

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