Knxwledge - 1988 Music Album Reviews

The L.A. producer’s music is a fog of samples and clips warped into peculiar shapes that defy recognition but prickle with familiarity, like memories from a past life.

Knxwledge is known for his omnivorous sampling and a work ethic that’s produced a scrollbar-shrinking Bandcamp page, but the L.A. producer is also a lover of mischief. “I kinda just test limits on how funky or smooth you can make some, like, super hood rap shit about shooting people in the face,” he once summarized. That playful approach characterizes 1988, billed as Knxwledge’s second album despite being the latest splash in an ocean of releases. The record is a fog of samples and clips warped into peculiar shapes that defy recognition but prickle with familiarity, like memories from a past life.

In terms of method, 1988 is virtually no different from the beat tapes and mixes Knxwledge releases with the regularity of software patches, but its warm, teasing aura sets it somewhat apart. Named after the year he was born and filled with pop culture ephemera like soundbites from Cooley High and radio interviews, 1988 celebrates Knxwledge’s origins and fixations. There’s always been a strong sense of nostalgia to his work, but he has an agnostic’s ability to cherish the past while shaping it to his needs.

This is the mood throughout 1988. On opener “dont be afraid” Knxwledge snips ’90s R&B group Kut Klose’s “Surrender” into a sensuous, yearning loop. “Don’t be afraid of the way you feel,” the group sings, their voices altered to waft over snappy percussion. For “amansloveislife_keepon,” another Kut Klose flip, Knxwledge rearranges the groove of “Keep On” around the instrumentation instead of the group’s harmonies. It's a simple change, but it unlocks the funk embedded in the song, which itself samples Patrice Rushen’s “Remind Me.” It feels less like a tweak than a correction.

While he’s clearly a student of J Dilla and Madlib, Knxwledge distinguishes himself with his special attention to the contours of the human voice. The feathery keys and faint percussion on “watchwhoukallyourhomie,” a flip of an old Meek Mill freestyle, trace the edges of Meek’s buoyant yelps, matching his bobs and weaves. Likewise, the soured horns of “solivelife” drift around a helium-laced Anderson .Paak vocal, freeing the crooner’s voice to drag and spill across measures. Knxwledge seems endlessly fascinated by the voice’s ability to spawn new rhythms or bind disparate ones together.

That said, while the loops and beats of 1988 are as hypnotic and outre as ever, other than the cleared samples and elevated sense of personality, there’s not enough about 1988 that distinguishes it from, say, WT15.8_, released a week before, or that rises to the devil-may-care attitude of Knxwledge’s Vimeo page. Read in sequence, the song titles spell out a mission statement of sorts, but the music here is ultimately standard Knxwledge. Knxwledge remains a distinctive and prolific sculptor of sounds, but consistency alone feels like a low bar to clear, especially for an artist with such reverence for the infinite forms music can take.


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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Knxwledge - 1988 Music Album Reviews Knxwledge - 1988 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Rating: 5

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