Factor – Chandelier (Fake Four Inc.)

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Factor - Chandelier

I’m often unsure about how to approach “abstract’s hip hop, much of the genre can leave me feeling cold, the only abstractions being that it doesn’ sound like commercial hip hop and r’n’b. So when I was handed the new album by Factor, Chandelier, I felt some trepidation, readying myself to feel disappointed. Canadian producer Factor has been a prolific producer over the last decade, making beats for many West Coast underground MCs – The Shapeshifters, Living Legends, Swollen Members, Freestyle Fellowship and Project Blowed – and on this, his first solo release, has been assisted by such vocalists as Sadat X, Awol One, Myka9, Moka Only and Josh Martinez.

What first strikes me is the diversity of sounds on the album, drawing influences from indie rock, folk and electronica, underpinned with hip-hop production techniques. The beat in hip-hop is all important, but Factor weaves a tapestry of sounds to make this different from the imitators.

Indie rock sounds seem to be creeping into a lot of hip-hop, check “Home Again’, “The Leen’, and “Electric Furs Of A Lynx’. The folk stylings of “Moonlight’, “Pray’ and “Year Of The Rat’s add another dimension, making the album flow well, not sticking to one style, making for a cohesive and listenable album paying homage to the styles of music he loves.

While there are lyrical themes, which add to the cohesiveness of the album format, I find the vocalists may not appeal to all. While MCs like The Gaff, Josh Martinez, Awol One, Myka 9 and Epic work well with the musical backdrop, others fall short, seeming displaced and awkward.

Wayne Stronell

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