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Mike Ladd: Nostalgialator

[Definitive Jux Records]

By Mike Breen · February 6th, 2008 · Short Takes

If George Clinton wouldn't have coined the terms "P-Funk" and "Funkadelic," some music critic might have conjured those words to describe the music on Mike Ladd's Nostalgialator album. The Paris-by-way-of-The-Bronx MC/poet/producer has had this album in the can for a while (it originally came out in Germany in 2004), but the political-minded lyrics hold up (or are perhaps even more relevant) four years later, as more people continue to turn their backs on the Bush regime. But Ladd is a trippy lyricist, so the "messages" on the record are layered with humor and blissfully head-scratching esoterica.

Ladd -- whose music is equally influenced by classic Funk, Electronica, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, slam poetry and Punk -- creates a swirl of psychedelia on Nostalgialator, the kind of music that would have audio "tracers" would one listen to it with a head-full of LSD. The album has the dizzying kitchen-sink dynamic of the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, putting into the blender everything from Prince-like dirty Funk (the digital grind of "Housewives at Play") to the Atari-Teenage-Riot-cover "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to the ElectroPunk of "Wild Out Day" to creepy post-Apocalyptic Lounge music ("Off to Mars" and a minimalist electronic version of the traditional Folk song, "Sail on Ladies," which sounds like something Tom Waits might come up with while hanging out at 4 a.m. at Daft Punk's house).

Though fans of modern Hip Hop artists like Aesop Rock and El-P will go mad for Ladd's experimental, beat-driven concoctions, he is a genuine original, comparable only in spirit to other artists who march to the beat of their own drum loop. Grade: B



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