Dubhlinn (or more commonly known as Dublin) is an Irish term for “black pool”, and the Neckbreakers Beat Tape is luxuriating in it. A perfect follow up review to Handbook’s Layerism, this compilation is yet another instance on digital dexterity that manages to retain that glorious resonance of acetate.
Besides scoring a repertoire of proficiency in the beat biz for over fifteen years, mainly for his band, Messiah J & The Expert, he has also played alongside the likes of The Pharcyde, Ghostface Killah, De la Soul and Talib Kweli – which sort of makes this inaugural foray of beat tape a natural progression.
Featuring a nifty compilation of funk-soul Blaxploitation instrumentals, Neckbreakers Beat Tape reigns in its significance of boom bap, very reminiscent of Om Record’s Mushroom Jazz anthology, with a modestly intelligent twist.
The whole EP lasts a little under 25 minutes, which requires more than a session’s worth of listening, and while the initial encounter is approached with trepidation – the fondness quickly begins to takeover with subsequent listens.
Rocketing through the introduction, Apollo is an all too familiar and gratifying composition of regal horns and steady roll of drums, which meanders to a spectacular re-make of what sounds like a cult classic, What’s Going On Today - a fiasco of disco-funk synths and vocal snippets.
There is a balanced dichotomy of mood and tempo between each track - Alan Alda takes a dip with a smooth jazzy number, having “Dynamite” to lift it back up with a sensational funky swagger taken right out of Soul Train. Another Journey does as it says, taking the listener on a melodically fragmented and cosmic trip to the grand destination of Buttery Gold – a clear winner (in my opinion), encapsulating some seriously infectious Sly and Fam prevalence.
A stellar homage to the solid foundations, this is a unique amalgamation of the classic eras – funk, soul, boom bap. As KRS-One would say, this “means the return of the real hard beats”. Don’t sleep on it folks.
02. What’s going on today
03. Alan Aida
05. Another journey
06. Buttery Gold