Album Reviews

Various – Lexoleum

(Lex) UK release date: 19 May 2003

Various - Lexoleum When word leaked out two years ago that Warp Records, one of the UK’s, if not the world’s, most highly regarded electronica/techno/weird noise labels, was about to launch a hip-hop label more than a few eyebrows were raised.

The first release, part one of the Lexoleum series, set high standards with stand out tracks from then unknown artists such as Boom Bip, Tes and Disflex 6, the experimental abstract beats and rhymes was matched in quality by the innovative artwork and sleeve design from designers EHQuestionmark.

Over the following 18 months, Lex dropped the hugely acclaimed Boom Bip album Seed to Sun, further singles from Disflex6 and eventually two more instalments of the Lexoleum series.

Now gathered together for the first time on CD we have all three parts of the series, with two bonus tracks to appeal to the collectors, over 18 tracks we have all aspects of hip-hop represented, many of which would be completely alien to the likes of Jay-Z or Puff Daddy.

We have Boom Bip’s subtle electro influenced styles, rubbing up against the old skool-isms of Edan and Disflex6, the porno freak out of Canadian sleaze rapper Peaches and the everything, probably including the kitchen sink noise of Kid Acne. As a statement of where the label is at Lexoleum reveals Lex to be in rude health, when you can represent new talent and rope in underground stars of the quality of Madlib, then you know you’re doing something right.

With artist albums and new EPs set to drop from many of the artists on the compilation, there is much to look forward to and much to be proud of. Not everyone thought Warp would be able to pull off launching a hip-hop label, but they’ve proved the doubters wrong and in the process have released some quality releases by doing their own thing and not paying undue respect to tradition and history.

If you’ve yet to delve into the Lex world, this album offers the perfect opportunity to dive right in and sample many of its treasures. As fine a collection of offbeat, leftfield gems as you’re likely to find this year.

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