Gnotes - Inthrumental

Gnotes - Inthrumental

Recently Retro Reviews: Gnotes - Inthrumental  Gnawledge Records GNR 1477

Release year: 2007

Full disclosure: My business partner and I create instrumentals in the genres of hip hop, electronic, and film music. As people who like to further their own craft with inspiration drawn from other people’s music, we seek out records that will do just that. That’s a tall order to fill, though, using my loosely-structured parameters of cheap, from the last 30 years, and on vinyl. After digging around the online sale bins for a couple of years, I can firmly say without a doubt that good instrumental hip hop records aren’t easy to come by on the cheap. So far, I’ve found only two that I’ve purchased and enjoyed so much as to play them more than once or twice. One of those is from the hip-hop collective hERON from Seattle, WA, and the other is another Seattlite named Sean Dwyer who records under the pseudonym Gnotes. Dwyer’s release Inthrumental is today’s topic, and here’s the play-by-play notes I took from the first listen.

“Guitars In The Trunk” starts the LP with a wide wall-of-sound collage, leaving me with an unsuredness as to my decision to buy and review Inthrumental. See, “Guitars” was the only song I based my purchase decision on. Sometimes, even when I think I’m making sound decisions, I still give in to impulse and de-rail myself. It happens more than I like to admit. This apprehension subsides with “Soul In The Wind”, which brings a fat live drum sound with a harmonizing trumpet line that locks me in. “Rememories” combines a gurgling rhythm reminiscent of Timbaland with a slide guitar melody that’s, for lack of a better two-word description, strange-beautiful. “Gift of Prophecy” is more of a film-music interlude than instrumental hip hop, but it breaks things up nicely moving into more jazzy hip hop with “Fool That I Am” and tabla exploration on “OuterGnational”. 

That fat, clean, jazzy drum sound returns in “Gnawledge Manifesto” and is also the backbeat behind “Elle Son”, with the latter matched up with some killer synth melody lines. “Sunny Day In Seattle” brings back that comfortable trumpet in a song that truly sounds like its title. “Professional Gypsies” delves into selective spoken word samples over a real head-knocker of a beat. Here’s an after-note I want to interject here. I mistakenly made the assumption that  “Cloudy Day In Cambridge” would be more subdued, even a bit melancholy, because “Sunny Day In Seattle” was so bright and sunny. The cut’s quite the opposite, leaning more partly-cloudy. “Beautiful Story” wraps up this fresh LP with a distanced sound as if you’re witnessing an inspired jam session from the back of the room. That’s quite fitting as a statement for Inthrumental as a whole, because it feels like an invitation to hear a super-cool artist at a venue only the locals know about. And my first experience of the record isn’t by any means my best listening experience of it, as this little instrumental hip hop record from Gnotes delivers new surprises with every play. 

Pairs well with sativa.



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