Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reviews:: Factor - Chandelier

Saskatoon producer Factor is likely a solid example of how the internet (and blog-olas like this here one) can help spread about an independent artist and their projects. I say this because I've gone from thinking that the only Factor in Canadian music was this grant, uhh, granting, organization, to covering two of the prairie producers albums within the last month. And I'm inclined to think this is a pretty good thing.

As I was rectifying my ignorance to his past work, I quickly realized that Factor is one of hardest working producers west of Ontario, and after having the chance to sample his work, I can see why. While his production songs retains a very distinct hip hop feel, Factor doesn't rely on sampling the same old loops and breaks to get the job done. He's also a man who enjoys spending some time on the keys, and as such he layers plenty of piano and keyboards over his drums, but he also experiments with plenty of other sounds - guitar riffs and vocal samples are often used to great effect.

Guest vocalists are also used with aplomb on Chandelier, with a roster of folks who might not be known to your average Joe, but would certainly turn heads amongst enthusiasts of indie west coast rap. With names like: Awol One, Halifax expat Josh Martinez, Moka Only, Freestyle Fellowship vet Myka 9, Kirby Dominant, and Epic, this album could turn those heads on either side of the 49th parallel. It bears mentioning that there's also a track with Sadat X on this album, which is just plain awesome no matter where you reside.

The thumping One Record is pretty damn catchy, despite it's fairly simple drum & chime makeup, and the chopped vocal sample is a welcome touch. I like this one a lot. I was pretty sure I recognized, the odd, high pitched vocals on Home Again. That is due to the presence of Nomad, who was also on Touch & Nato's album, and although I described his work there as "one of the worst choruses I've heard in a while", his odd style works better over Factor's 80-ish beat. Pray has a semi-sinister, guitar laced beat and features Ceschi, who sounds like Lyrics Born would sound if he was Anticon. And depressed. Or something.

Songs like New Day and Wait And See show Factor has the skill to keep the listeners interest on instrumental tracks, but he also knows how to tailor his production to the MC he's working with. The dark vibe of More Rude Than Handsome is a perfect match for the brooding temperament of Awol One's song about girls getting nude for love, but that is followed up by the bongo-laced pep of The Leen, which works well for Josh Martinez's sing-song effort. And he serves up a vintage, east coast-inspired banger of a track for Sadat X, which is just what he should've done.

So, thanks to the magic of the internet, I'm not only familar with Factor, but so are you. Still not feeling like you know him? Did I mention he's owned and operated his own label for the last ten year? Or that he's heading out on tour with indie faves Islands? That better? Now if you enjoy skillful production matched with talented, abstract lyricists, I suggest you go ahead and get yourself a copy of Chandelier and take that getting-to-know-you process even further.

myspace :: label :: buy album

Posted at 2:10 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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