- A delightful compilation of lo-fi house, boogie, hip-hop, electro and plenty more.
- Harsh Riddims operator Ryan Parks runs a label that feels like an extension of a singular perspective on art and music. The wild creative experimentation of Atlanta rap seems to color the edges of the Harsh Riddims sound, along with everything else Parks is into. The label's blocky, construction-paper art nods to Ralph Lawrence and Kerry James Marshall, while the full name of the label references Ed Templeton's skateboard company Toy Machine.
This amalgam of influences and Parks' great ear means that every Harsh Riddims release is worth picking up, but the full breadth of the label's sonic remit comes across on its compilations, the best of which was recently released. A host of Harsh Riddims regulars are back for another round, like Divine Interface, who appears here with a woozy R&B come-on "Request Line;" Louke Man, who samples Lana Del Rey on a breakbeat house track; and Clone Suspect (featuring Harsh Riddim alumnus Charolastra), whose Coco-voiced lo-fi boogie tune is reminiscent of early Nite Jewel. A few of the most intriguing artists on the compilation have hardly any online presence at all, like Stemlines, whose "Hide From Me (Ruff Demo)" could be a bizarre reading of Miami bass and Outkast's ecstatic breakbeat tunes.
There are plenty of cuts that could be of interest to DJs on Harsh Riddims Vol. 4, like East Memphis Software Solutions' dreamy electro closing track, "Land Cruiser." But the well-sequenced compilation is probably best listened to whole. From Whereisissa's Curren$y-style rap cut "Sunlight" to Trafic Des Airs' oddball beat track "Menzel," much of Harsh Riddims Vol. 4 feels like DIY cruising music.
01. Bandido Del Futuro - Her Touch
02. Trafic Des Airs - Menzel
03. Stemlines - Hide From Me (Ruff Demo)
04. Clone Suspect feat. Coco - Lebaron (Side 2 Side)
05. Cube - BlindCC
06. System Olympia - 9191 Olympia
07. O$AGIE - OVERLOAD LEFTFIELD
08. Sarah Swillum - Nikey Shoe
09. Divine Interface - Request Line
10. Louke Man - Differently_
11. Whereisissa - Sunlight
12. Black Forces - WATCH OUT
13. Black Noi$e - Ballad
14. East Memphis Software Solutions - Land Cruiser