It doesn’t really matter whether you are a fan of instrumental hip-hop as they call it. Even if you don’t look for it, the good stuff will come your way, no matter what. Skipping the music trade title, instrumental hip-hop boils down to two essential things: good choice and arrangement of samples and good beats that hold them into a musical entity. Sounds easy" You try it!
First of all, you have to have an absolute knowledge of as many musical genres as possible, one will not do. Guess why everybody likes and has only words of praise for guys like Madlib or DJ Krush who have practically researched and gone through any musical genre possible. Then you have to link the samples that they sound coherent as a unit and add a beat or probably beats that suit each and every one of them properly. You need a rapper to make a poetic comment about what you’re trying to do" Choices to be made thereto…
All in all, it involves unknown countless hours and painful work to make everything sound reasonable, let alone good. That is why wrapping your ears around a good, let alone excellent instrumental hip-hop can often be a rare occasion. So finally, here’s one: Astro Travelling 2: Albatross Hill by the Toronto producer K-HAM CA (or to be exact, Khadeem Hamilton, I’m sure you guess what CA stands for). Haven’t heard of K-HAM CA before, nor do I know where Albatross Hill might be, but after this album, I’d certainly like to hear both from Khadeem and find out more about Albatross Hill.
The moment AT2 opens the album you get the sense that the producer knows exactly what he’s doing - an obvious knowledge of the material he’s sampling, a great sense of the beat and making it all sound like it was bound to be together. It so happens that Khadeem started out trying to emulate Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin guitar histrionics. None of that here. But what can be seen is that he has gone through a range of musical styles and that he truly likes all of them, otherwise, this whole musical exercise with the variety of ground it covers could have turned into a complete mess. Instead, it all flows together and you do get a sense of astral traveling - searching for the essence of spiritual jazz through other means. That is a great achievement in itself. More great stuff should be expected from this guy.