Visioneers

Hipology

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London-based DJ and producer Marc Mac got his start as half of a duo called 4Hero; after a decade of producing beat-based electronic music, he now records under the name Visioneers and seems to be getting increasingly interested in vintage hip-hop, soul, and jazz, though his passion for breakbeats and turntable manipulation remains. On Hipology, he indulges all of his various musical interests with generally pleasing results -- though the frequent digressions into hip-hop history lessons (via spoken word reminiscences from central figures in the music's early development) and the sometimes surprisingly smooth surfaces of the jazzier numbers (like "Rocket Man [Afrolatin Joint]" and the horn-rich but ultimately tedious "Funky Fanfare") sometimes undermine the impact of the powerful grooves that are generated elsewhere (as on the nicely sentimental "Back in Time," which features Baron and TRAC, and the excellent "Shine"). But there are moments when those two tendencies converge beautifully and offer an intriguing glimpse at what this album could have sounded like if the fusion were more consistently maintained: the best example of this success is the brilliant "Oil & Water," a slice of smooth and jazzy hip-hop featuring excellent tag-team rapping from Notes to Self. More of this kind of thing, with fewer generic hip-hop samples and many fewer shout-outs to Marc Mac himself, would have quickly tipped this album from "good" to "excellent."

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