Thursday, January 1, 2009

Best of 2008: #17. Metaform - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Metaform is a one-man instrumental hip-hop project. Armed with little more than samples, Metaform (or Justice Aaron) takes beats from a wide and disparate number of genres - hip-hop, jazz, soul, electronica - to create the soulful and catchy Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

For me, this album can be summed up by the first song, “Rock it Number Nine”. It begins with a soulful and measured singing sample, before quickly picking up pace with the drums then dropping into a short break that introduces a xylophone, and then picking up again with each and every individually introduced element in the song's culmination, a beautiful combination that manages to feel both passionate and emotionally resonant.

All of that, executed brilliantly, comes in a span barely passing a minute. Rather than languishing on a single idea for awkwardly long periods of time, Metaform instead keeps moving on to different ideas, continually touching on new ground throughout Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ forty-five minute run time. The result is nineteen songs filled to the brim with any number of memorable and captivating musical ideas that are never given the time to wear out their welcome. In fact, only six songs make it past the three minute mark, making sure both that the listener never gets worn out on one idea, but also that some of the best executed concepts are kept criminally short (as in “Rock it Number Nine”). Not every song works - - but they succeed far more often than they fail.

A download link is available here.

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