Genre: Afro-funk / Dub / Bass music
Region: Portland, US
Artists’ Website: AfroQBen
Label: Timewarp Music
Release Date: November 12, 2012
In today’s musical landscape, until you pick up the new style of electronic music you will probably find yourself trying to deal with the next – new sounds pop up like mushrooms and that is not a bad thing. Genre-bending is the game of today and AfroQBen represents this new generation of producers that merge a host of different styles since boundaries and definitions seem to be constantly losing importance even though new terms surface.
Liquid Gold could be easily classified as another album in the ever-broadening umbrella term of bass music, but the blending of styles, the various organic elements and the multiple singers demand our attention before doing so. Each track is different with the dominating afro-centric theme of the album bringing funk, afro-tropical, reggae, downtempo and hip-hop together.
“Massive Move Forward” is a dubby funk with a hard, steady bit and melodic ragga-hop rhyming courtesy of Zelly Rock to give place to the chunky, elevating bass of “Everyone Jump” – one of the standout tracks of the set. Kudos also to Lafa Taylor & Reason for the outstanding vocal performance making it a crowd-pleasing anthem. Vibes get more militant with the skillful sing-jaying of Ras Attitude on the heavy dubstep-fueled hip hop beat of “Dirty Heart”.
“Cafe” surprises with an abrupt shift towards an organic afrobeat sound. Melody takes over on the electro-funk-house hybrid of “House Fly” – while “Lift Yo Body” pushes it further in a more outspoken nu-disco go-go style. AfroQBen cools the engines for some reflection in the last two tracks. Batch delivers catchy, melodic reggae vocals backed by downtempo music on “Choices In Life” – a brilliant number. In the last track AfroQBen attempts to give an extra bassy edge on a typical sitar contemplative downtempo track and though all elements and samples are great the result is somehow stale.
Liquid Gold is AfroQBen’s second full-length (the 2007’s debut you can download for free at his Bandcamp page) and it encapsulates a fresh combination of known styles and that distinct twist is what sets this album apart. AfroQBen’s mix of hip-hop, all-things-funk and reggae with some heavy beats gives a seductive reaction. Definitely, some tracks will make it to the parties.
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