Sipping Black Milk and eating Camembert

There is nothing like a good live performance. I personally prefer the intimacy of a small venue to the raw energy of a packed arena or stadium (although I did thoroughly enjoy Metallica at the ACER Arena this weekend) because I love being able to actually hear the music and see the people performing it on something other than a big TV screen while craning my neck to avoid Shaq and his 7ft NBA buddies who just happen to be standing in front of me. I don’t think that there’s a live venue in Sydney that matches the uniquely welcoming yet bizzarely unearthly environment that is the original Qirkz in Marrickville. Of course, the powers that be had to spoil our fun and close the place down, but the owners occasionally have a private party and invite some of us back. I recently attended one of these parties and had the immense pleasure and honour of seeing the venue’s owner perform with his own ARIA winning band, Monsieur Camembert. Their music is an eclectic riot of Jazz, Gypsy, Eastern European Folk, and a raft of other influences and genres all rolled in to one. I’m not sure I’d dig this sitting at home with the headphones on, but they epitomize why we bother shelling dosh out for live performances. Sadly, there isn’t a great video of them at Qirkz, so I have included a clip of another live performance of MC.

I’m sure the folks at Qirkz would appreciate the combination of imaginative, boundry spanning production and spitfire lyrical style of Detroit based producer/MC Black Milk. BM has released his follow up to 2008’s superb Tronic with the pugnaciously named Album of The Year. Such a title almost begs the critics to sharpen their knives. Thankfully, even though the album may not fully live up to its name, its pretty damn nice. Black Milk’s soul and boom bap inspired production (reminiscent of other midwest production heavyweights including J Dilla and the highly annoying yet undeniably talented Kanye) is back, but this time it includes more complex influences (string and horn samples and guitar loops are far more prominent this time) that make this record satisfyingly challenging. I’ve heard it in its entirety three times, and I like it more after each successive listen…always a good sign. Black Milk’s flow is good…characterized by a rapid delivery that works well with the production, but cameos from the likes of Royce Da 5-9 and Elzhi clearly surpass Black Milk’s ability, elucidating that he’s still a producer on  a mic rather than the other way around.

More soon…


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