Despite acting as a sort pick me up for Fliptrix fans, an interlude between his previous The Road to the Interdimensional Piff Highway album and the forthcoming Polyhymnia, Fliptrix’s latest offering Out the Box is a meaty 12 tracks deep, with six of those being completely unheard offerings. An overspill for his militant work rate and abundance of fresh rhyme schemes, it also shines the light one of his longest collaborators; London beatsmith Rebs, who’s played a part in Fliptrix’s sound for many albums now. Bringing his organic, warm sound to not only the six fresh tracks but also six of Fliptrix’s more recent classics, his thumping beats step underneath not only Fliptrix’s vocals but those of Farma G, Buggsy and Verb T.
Showing originality and a willingness to step outside the confines of the originals, Rebs seems to intentionally completely subvert the original beats on the releases remix tracks as he brings new life to them, new backdrops favouring new surroundings and moods and impressing them on the vocals. Soundscapes get’s a much more airy, light re-imagining at the hands of Rebs’ MPC, bright piano keys merging with fluttering synths as he puts a completely different slant on Fliptrix and Farma G’s more oppressed prose for a remix that probably shouldn’t work, but just somehow does. Elsewhere, Wylin Out’s rowdy, upbeat verses take on the oriental strings of a glitching, bass fueled beat while The Essence drops it’s garage ambience for a dubby festival stomper.
Moving onto the releases unheard offerings, Fliptrix stays on constant form across the beats of a producer who his musical connection with is obvious. Varied in style between his deeper, more visceral style of lyricism and straight up bangers, the overall sound takes on that of the album it’s built upon: Third Eye of the Storm, an album that potentially still holds the personal top spot in Fliptrix’s discography. Smoke Rings‘ gully, bin lid snare and hazy melodies provides an ideal tapestry for masterfully weaved, introverted train of thought that it’s hard not to get lost in before Rising, Duppying the Style and Out the Box form an up beat central core of the album. Rising’s quickly shuffling drum break thatches particularly smoothly with Fliptrix’s tommy gun flow for an energising track, while Duppying the Style’s brain shaking nod and assured hook earns it’s place as one of the projects lead singles. Later, the duo dive into murkier depths once again with the squelching lazers of Mutantz among Fliptrix’s contorting metaphors of everyday life before Ashes to Ashes continues further down that path in fine style. Contemplative, melancholy pianos and deep bass merge thoughtfully with philosophical lyricism for one of the albums armchair listening standouts.
While Fliptrix’s new vocals are as consistently on point as ever, the album becomes Reb’s beast to those familiar with Fliptrix’s music, encouraging you to analyse how he bends the originals to new meanings, atmospheres and moods. Although varied in pace throughout, there’s a constant sonic flavour to Reb’s production, the golden tinge of his smooth bass and timeless drums meeting subtle cosmic synth play and, as it has in the past, meeting Fliptrix’s vocal tone as if the two were made for each other. Another top notch offering, it’s somewhat of a footnote between releases in the ever expanding Fliptrix discography and yet proves the duo’s consistency and caliber effortlessly for another essential release from High Focus. Grab the CD for a reduced £5.99 price tag over at the High Focus website.