featured REVIEW

Amp Live Headphone Concerto Plug Research • 2014

Classical music and hip-hop have a long history together. And successful: think Nas, EPMD, Jedi Mind Tricks, Cunninlynguists, Mobb Deep. The list goes on.

What Amp Live does on ‘Headphone Concerto’ is different though. The idea of the album is: ‘A modern twist on a classical concerto’.

By both musical approach as in form.

The Zion I producer doesn’t loop a Beethoven piano and puts a drum under it. Amp Live is a composer, a musical beast who builds beats from the string up, synthesizing all instruments into a perfect whole.

Therefore: string, brass and woodwind never sounded more contemporary than on ‘Headphone Concerto’. The layers: adventurous, the arrangements: dope.

‘A modern twist’ also means: crossing genres. Although the record starts on a classical foot, it soon scouts different areas.

The Bay Area producer explores hip-hop -‘Ihearthiphop’ featuring Planet Asia-, flirts with jazz and digs into the depths of electronic dance music. Exciting, but the cohesiveness that typecasts the individual songs, is missed throughout the album.

In form, it’s harder to perceive. The concept of a concerto, with three movements, is not really worked out and needs too much imagination.

Concept aside, ‘Headphone Concerto’ accentuates Amp Live’s musical insight and skill to arrange a song, no matter what style or influence. A modern twist indeed.

POSTED ON 08|22|2014 by cpf

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