South Californian-based Erik Nava is an old hand at what he does, hip-hop production. He also builds his own controllers for live performance, makes computer games, and seems like a general all-round good guy. Other renowned media sites like XLR8R also have given him the big-up for what he does.
I wanted to like this album, it seems expected of me. But I couldn’t.
To an experienced listener of wonky tunes, Satellites sounds like a frat-kid’s adventure into wonk. It’s like someone was asked to sell the idea of space in a hip-hop instrumental package to a broad audience. The melodies are a bit cheesy and predictable. A whole album of this predictability ends up being a bit of a yawn.
Such tracks titled ‘Imploding Stars’, ‘Space Basement’ and ‘Signals from Humans’ seem to me naive attempts at translating a “spacey” aesthetic and deliver high, reverberating 8-bit synth melodies that are digestible, but too solidly predictable to be called “spacey”, rather like alien costumes in D-grade sci-fi.
This isn’t to take away from the production of Satellites, all the sounds are fairly well done (if a little under par for the standard of excellent wonky artists out there) and the compositions are well-grounded, but it’s just not interesting if you’ve heard any recent instrumental hip-hop.
Tracks like ‘Sound of Light Speed’ are about as good as it gets, and I could hear some DJs of high caliber using Satellites as a tool, and I can see how this album could translate to a good live performance on the part of Egadz. It bears in mind to how I imagine wonky/abstract hip-hop would be made accessible to a mainstream audience, which I don’t really condone the idea of.
There are way better albums out there to listen to, as so far as wonky styles are concerned. I think younger and less experienced listeners might like it though.