21 Nov 2011

Malachai - The Ugly Side of Love - Obscure Classics

Great albums you may have missed.

Malachai - The Ugly Side of Love ( 2009 )

The debut album from this Bristol two piece is one of the more appealing underground releases of the last few years. Combining a love for the music of the late sixties / early seventies with the cut and paste aesthetic of artists like Madlib and Edan this has the feel of a much loved mix tape passed among friends. The ghosts of Hendrix, the Beatles, Cream, the Small Faces and more are evoked often here, and while most songs contain a lot of sampling, the duo's pop smarts are too dominant to turn this into just another piece of turntableism. The foundations of many of these songs are built from samples sure, but songcraft is just as important to these two - check out the killer choruses on Snowflake and Another Sun to see what I mean.

They're also pretty adept at creating songs from samples that sound like they're being played by a live band. This is a serious muso's dream album - there's so much going on that there's always something you hadn't noticed popping out of the mix, and the patchy joins between some of the samples just add to the charm.
Geoff Barrow from Portishead is a huge fan and originally released this on his label before it was rereleased for the international market by Domino. He's also got a co-write and co-production credit - Fading World is the most Portishead like track here.

They share with Portishead a rare ability to blur musical boundaries to create something which sounds totally fresh out of ingredients that should have been well past their use by date.
Their second album Return to the Ugly Side is amazing too - much darker and made to be listened to as a whole.

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