Murder At The Discotech
Amp Live strives for retro-futuristic electrofunk on Murder At The Discotech and delivers a dancey but disappointing record in the process. The meditative, soulful production from previous Zion I releases such as True & Livin’ has been eschewed in favor of uptempo, radio-friendly fodder. The lead single, “Gary Is A Robot,” rides the auto-tune wave in the most bland fashion imaginable. Those familiar with Amp’s genre-bending remix work for Radiohead and WHY? will be left scratching their collective head at the direction he has taken on the new record. Amp wears his ’80s influences on his sleeve whilst creating boom bap-tinged spaceship rap, an art best left to El-P.
The Bay Area hyphy movement which Amp has gravitated towards is also a major player on Murder At The Discotech. The posse cut “Hot Right Now,” which features quality verses from the likes of G & E and Zion I partner-in-crime Zumbi, is one of the more intriguing moments on the record but also reminds the listener how much better Zion I sounded over Amp’s former soundscape. The record is weighed down by some mediocre guest offerings which often stray into mindless club music territory. Braggadocio raps over minimalist breaks have been done a million times and tracks like “Turn It Up” are indicative of how stale the style has become. Laughable similes such as K. Flay’s “flow like an enema” suggest Amp might have been wise to let the beats breathe a little more without sub-par lyrics wasting his glitchy, funk palettes. Sprawling songs with thunderous bass and synthy chaos like “Mad Man” show what the album could have been in instrumental form.
The poppy riffs and horns of “Money Back Guaranteed” bear a subtle dubstep influence and are a welcome reprieve from the record’s spacey rap. Definitive Jux refugee Yak Ballz rips the album’s most accessible beat with his much-improved punchline flows on “Ugly.” There are brief glimpses of what made older Zion I records so enjoyable, but a handful of piss-poor guest spots in addition to Amp Live’s misguided love affair with electrofunk and hyphy keep Murder At The Discotech from realizing its potential.
Song you’ll remember in five years: “Mad Man”