Alias - Fever Dream (Anticon)

Underground hip hop still has a lot to offer.

Released Sep 5th, 2011 via Anticon / By Adam Corner
Alias - Fever Dream (Anticon) In the avalanche of genre-hopping, boundary-blurring electronic beat makers currently saturating both sides of the Atlantic with almost an embarrassment of riches, who’d have thought there was room at the party for Anticon stalwart Alias to shine? Unexpectedly, Alias has delivered a scorcher of an album that ranks with the full-length output of any of the current crop of producers taking dubstep and hiphop to pastures new. The only question is: will anyone take note?

Opening with the slinky, serotonin-soaked 'Goinswimmin' and a sample boasting ‘only a fool would ignore this’, the sound is somewhere between Lone and the less hyperventilating moments that Hudson Mohawke occasionally settles into. With a hip hop backbone propping everything up, the album manages to slide from dreamy, watercolour radar blips ('No Choice') to stuttering, lopsided head-nodders like 'Dahorses'. At times it is like a warmer, more playful Samiyam, at others it resembles the focused beatsmithery of Pariah. Subtle’s Dax Pierson appears on the James Blake-ish 'Talk In Technicolour', complete with spiralling beats and half-heard vocal melodies.

These are killer reference points, and the album is in no way derivative: somehow Alias seems to have catapulted himself right to the front of the pack. At a time where other ‘respected’ beat-makers like DJ Shadow are (despite the Shadowsphere) looking increasingly irrelevant, its great to see an underground hip hop head from the last decade sounding so fresh and full of ideas. There isn’t a weak track on the album: massively recommended, and here’s hoping it gets the recognition it deserves.