Review: Blockhead - Downtown Science


Dez 8 2005, 23h38

Downtown Science is the second solo album from New York's Blockhead. Signed to Ninja Tune, Blockhead makes great moody instrumental hip-hop and is perhaps best known for his music backing the rhymes of Aesop Rock.

Downtown Science is a better record than the debut, Music By Cavelight. No longer dependent on the obvious Peanuts samples to identify himself as Blockhead, the theme holding this album together is a series of sped-up "chipmunked" old '40's musical theatre recordings. It's entertaining and used sparingly enough so that its humour doesn't detract from the songs themselves.

On Downtown Science, Blockead delivers music that tells its own story. You can listen to this album straight through and never wonder there aren't any raps on it. The music carries itself, providing enough interest without the need for rhymes.

Musically, this is definitely at home on Ninja Tune, with hints of The Herbaliser's mellower instrumental work, 9 Lazy 9, and the humour of Kid Koala or Wagon Christ. But the album reminds me most sharply of non-Ninja DJ Shadow, which is no bad thing.

The mood is mellow and introspective throughout, except perhaps for the fun The Art Of Walking with its gospel vocal samples and happy uplifting tune, or personal fave Dough Nation with jazzy breaks and raspy scat vocals.

All in all, a really consistent and good instrumental hip hop album. Four stars.


  • smithjeaninem

    New to and just wanted to say hey and still checking out recommended group listening which is expanding my mind at a rapid pace...thnx for all the input....

    Dez 9 2005, 4h11
  • yagood

    Yes, it's a great album, definitely one to recommend!

    Mar 25 2007, 19h03
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