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Album Review

Variable Unit ?Mayhemystics Outbreaks? [Wide Hive Records]

Hunter Gatherer   5/22/2005   CD, Hip Hop

This is the fifth release by Variable Unit, a San Francisco self-described ‘community? (as opposed to a ‘band?) with a fluctuating membership made up of experienced musicians interested in combining genres like hip hop, down tempo, dub, soul, and anything else they can get their hands on. It was released 4/20/2005

This release started out as outtakes from their previous release, Mayhemystics, and soon took on a life of its own. Only two songs of the thirteen are new versions from MayhemisticsSecond Seals (originally Seals) and Liberation 2 (originally Liberation).

The sound is a mishmash of genres listed above, bringing out the best elements of each. The great keyboard playing by Jacob Elyah Aginsky and the rhythm section of Thomas McCree (drums) and Matt Montgomery (bass) keep the music interesting and funky (especially on 8: Contradiction). DJs Quest and Zeph participate on this release as well. Azeem and Omega have a powerful delivery to match the power of the subject matter.

Most of the songs are a reaction to the second Gulf War and the general hassles of being on the less desirable end of a capitalist society combined with a healthy dose of apocalyptic vision. They get points for writing the first song I’ve heard that points out the fact that vinyl records are made from oil derivatives.

Instrumentals: 4, 7, 9, 13
–Hunter Gatherer

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