Ammoncontact, With Voices
Moody, unusually immersive soundscapes that sound just as good on Sunday morning as they did the night before
Thanks to the efforts of outfits like the Low End Theory, Los Angeles's underground hip-hop scene feels a lot like a lens, focusing influences from abroad (like dubstep) and beaming its local figureheads (Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer) back out upon the world stage as bearers of a progressive, fusion-minded sound. Beginning in the early '00s, Ammoncontact were early adopters of that internationalist model, releasing densely packed post-boom-bap epics on labels like London's Soul Jazz and Prefuse 73's Atlanta-based Eastern Developments along with LA's own Plus Research. After a string of mostly instrumental albums, in 2006 they got down with a host of MCs to create With Voices, a record whose title is self-explanatory. The varied styles of guests like X-Clan's Brother J, Organized Konfusion's Prince Po, Abstract Rude and Dwight Treble keep the mood dynamic, and the beats frequently push at the limits of hip-hop itself, running from soul-jazz fantasias to house-inspired broken beat. Mixing up psychedelic strains of avant-garde jazz with distorted synths and drum machines, Ammoncontact and friends create moody, unusually immersive soundscapes that sound just as good on Sunday morning as they did the night before.