Murphy’s Law of hip-hop: Every album provokes an associative reaction in the listener. Some albums are made for riding out. Some albums are made for ass shaking. Some are simply made for a living room, a few friends and a slow-burning communal joint. An album such as Aloe Park? The latest from Kansas City native Approach is made for a hammock, a cloudless day and a handful of Vicodin. The album’s heavily layered production, handcrafted by Ill Poetic, works up from a groundswell of psychedelic boom-bap funk and an acid trip’s worth of surprise sonic appearances. A snake charmer’s flute weaves its way in and out of “Where U From,” bong water bubbles on “Tired,” and morbid electronica makes “Redbull” a haunted house of rhymes. Between guest shots from locals Miles Bonny, Stik Figa, Royce Diamond, Reach and others, Approach issues verses like plumes of smoke, blowing out rhymes that rise up and dissipate into the beat. Aloe forms an original phantasm of word and sound that floats above convention, relaxed in its production and unsettling to listeners expecting sampled hip-hop standards. More important, Approach creates an exotic vibe that encourages little in the way of beat bumping, ass shaking or group weed therapy. Instead, Aloe ushers listeners to an unexpected place: an island of sound where the listener is encouraged to meditate on waves of ebbing lyrics. It’s an odd correlative to hip-hop’s Murphy’s Law and a potential boon to the hammock and pharmaceutical industries.

Categories: Music