Thavius Beck – The Most Beautiful Ugly
An instrumental album from rapper and superproducer Thavius Beck has about fifty times as many ideas crammed into it as most hip-hop records, even without his mythic, hallucinatory, Hermetic philosophy-influenced rhymes. A certified Ableton trainer, he has worked on music for Trent Reznor (on Saul Williams' Niggy Tardust album) and Zack De la Rocha, and given Ableton tutorials to the likes of Photek.
This mastery of Ableton informs the complexity of the tracks on ...Ugly, from the pulsing, space-age breakbeats and found computer-speech of opener Eye of the Beholder to the doubletime hi-hats and strings of Break Til Broken. Atmos is dripping with extra-width digital bass funk, while the imposing swagger of Feel Me / Fear Me has the feel of pitch-dark, Gothic crunk. There is such a mercurial sensibility to Beck's productions that it's a miracle they don't collapse under the weight of his ideas. A breathtaking, ambitious album.