With Voices is the modest title assigned to thelatest production venture for Carlos Nino andFabian Ammon. It represents their first fulllength vocal record, the LA duo previously choosing toconcentrate mostly on instrumental efforts, as in theexcellent One In An Infinity Of Ways album from 2004,or the equally fine sequel New Birth. On this new opusthey’ve sought help from several of their fellow citydwellers, and found a wide cross section of talent togo with their hip hop beats.
Hip hop is the base root of the equation, but isalso used as a starting point to include jazz, dub andfunk. From the first track it’s immediately apparent afree approach is the order of the day, as DwightTrible‘s instantly recognisable tones weave theirway around a semi-mantra. The following One For Aylergoes the other way, a simple hip hop beat backing abasic chord structure of rare beauty, voices whisperedthis time.
Of the more aggressively hip hop tracks, WithVoices is the only one that Ammoncontact use to give ashout out – that is, through the voice of LilSci in a tense, energetic number. Like Thisfeatures the same vocalist and packs a heavy riff,rather like a Blade track might do. But the duorefuse to rely too heavily on these tricks, any ideaof a commercial pitch quickly extinguished by a range,semi-electro episode, the effect one of having yourhead dipped beneath the water.
Meanwhile Zillion Tambourines has a thoughtprovoking, protest style rumination over a lazy bassline. The influence of DJ Shadow unconsciouslyexerts itself for the spacious, cinematic textures ofElevation, while the duo’s penchant for a good riffcomes up once again in Drum Riders, a more basic ‘rap’n’ drum’ approach.
From all this it’s clear Ammoncontact are a vibrantsource of creativity, keen to expand their hip hopsensibilities in search of other forms of expression.They succeed in an engaging album that gets better andmore interesting with every listen, communicating withan impressive directness. Their prolific writing looksset to lead them down many more garden paths in thenear future – and it will be interesting to hear the results.