by Dave Segal

Boom Bip w/ Four Tet Fri June 6

Medicine Hat

The mongrelization of hiphop accelerates, even as I type this sentence. Artists on labels like anticon, Mush, Warp/Lex, and Def Jux are fluxing up the art form's DNA by bringing in influences from psychedelia, prog-rock, folk, and even emo. Tour mates Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) and Boom Bip (Bryan Hollon) reflect this script-flipping phenomenon on their latest albums, Rounds and Seed to Sun, respectively.

While Four Tet's early music fused hiphop with avant jazz, his last two full-lengths, Pause and Rounds, veer into more pastoral realms, provoking the irksome coinage "folktronica." Like all of Four Tet's work, Rounds is a riotous collage of samples, which he then manipulates with software programs. "With my music, nothing is often what it seems," Hebden declares.

Still, Rounds could be Four Tet's most accessible release yet. "It sounds more accessible in some ways," Hebden agrees, "but it sounds more unusual in others. I really strived to do something different with the melodic content and instrumentation."

Boom Bip is also doing something different. His collab with anticon emcee Dose One, Circle, is an epic poem in a private language, seemingly scored by 10 different madmen. On Seed to Sun, Boom Bip's vision comes into clearer focus. Cats who freaked out to Shadow's Endtroducing and RJD2's Deadringer should dig Bip's dazzlingly diverse, mostly instrumental solo debut. Though released by Warp's hiphop imprint Lex, Sun ain't hiphop, according to Bip.

"Several of the songs use elements that you hear in hiphop music, but I don't really look at them as hiphop," he argues.

Whatever you want to call it, Bip's music is on some other shit. Curious about his bizarre sonic palette, I ask him about the richest sample sources. "To be honest, I have moved away from sampling. If I do it now, it is usually a sound-effects record or something very strange. But the prog-rock records are where it's at: Chase, Can, Faust, King Crimson, etc." There you go, fledgling producers.