March 1st! If we had a crazy snow/rain/hail/wind storm last night but today is fairly clear with actual “sun” up in the sky, do we consider March to have come in like a lamb or lion? Who cares really, this is Halifax, so the weather is going to suck for the next two months regardless. So how about something from somewhere where it’s way colder than here to make us feel better about ourselves?
Aries is a producer currently calling Regina, Saskatchewan home (-25 today anyone? Yikes), who has done production for a number of respected MC’s from the prairies to the West coast. Aries did some production for Brass Tackz’s EP The Outfit, which I was a big fan of, and so even though it’s taken me forever to get to it, I was interested to hear what he had to offer on an album of his production work that he released last year. Now And Then contains work Aries has done from 2007 until now, and features MC’s like Moka Only, Def3, Brass Tackz, and Jeff Spec amongst others.
Aries has Now & Then up on his Bandcamp site for five bucks, and when you consider that it is 21 songs strong, you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck. His production has a classic, boom-bap vibe to it, and he keeps things fairly straight-forward most of the time, but it’s of a very high standard I have to say. He manages to keep things sounding fresh across 21 songs, which isn’t easy, and he’s able to mix things up to fit the MC’s or the mood of the track (the creepy Find Out from Brass Tackz is still addictive, and the wistful beat on the tour-loving I Don’t Wanna Go Home from Def3 & Moka Only suits the track to a T).
So if you’re looking for a heaping helping of quality Canadian hip hop, Aries Now & Then could be right up your alley.