Mike Ladd - Nostalgialator

  • Share
  • Known for his work as the main man behind the Infesticons and Majesticons releases on Ninja Tune offshoot label, Big Dada (home to artists such as Roots Manuva, New Flesh and Ty), his collaborations with other underground hip hop artists like El-P of Company, Mike Ladd is back again to deliver more of his experimental hip hop flavours on Nostalgialator. Far from being a straight up hip hop effort, Nostalgialator takes in elements of punk, rock and blues with lashings of that experiemental hip hop sound that he's known for. The first track on the album, Dire Straits Play Nuremburg sounds like Ladd had ripped off a live recording of the Straits complete with big guitar licks, massive synths, crowd sounds and distorted microphone vocals (with the occasional feedback for added realism). Trouble Shot continues this live rock feel (going back to the days of 70s psychedelic black rock) with added electro bleeps and sounds and features Ladd reciting verses of spoken word poetry. The lead single to the album Housewives At Play has more of a pop influence aimed straight at the dancefloor, with Mike Ladd singing in falsetto accompanied by cheesy 80's electro synths. It's a slightly laidback affair and sounds similar to what N.E.R.D pull off when they do their artist albums. Wild Out Day turns up the tempo to fast-paced skater punk featuring distorted axe-riffs and a horn riff that sounds like it's been sampled off a 70s spy movie - punk hip hop that suits the mosh-pit than the block party. Afrotastic is a combination of blaxploitation soundtrack music - huge sounding horns, 70's style special effects - mixed in with the aggressiveness of 70s hard rock. How Electricity Really Works sees Ladd revisit spoken word poetry on top of a dreamy laidback rhythm and takes a stab at George W. Bush on Off To Mars where he encourages the man to leave Earth and go to Mars while we all stay here and clean up the mess he left behind. Finally, the album closes off with Sail Away Ladies which shows off its blues roots featuring a slow-plodding rhythm, hammond riff and Mike Ladd putting on his deep blues-man vocals. Nostalgialator is not the hip hop release that we've come to expect from the genre, it flows more like an eclectic radio station whose playlist includes the pop-stylings of N.E.R.D, blues, punk, rock - all of which are mixed in with experimental hip hop production techniques. Much like the Infesticons and Majesticons releases (of which a third volume is on the way), Nostalgialator is also going to be released as a series. After hearing this release and being very surprised by it all, it would be interesting to see what Ladd has got in store for the next volumes in the series.