By KRUA Music Manager Oliver Petraitis
As both the title and the cover art of Amp Live’s new EP Kaleidoscope Theory suggest, this album is a wild amalgamation of propulsive jazz drumming, trip-hoppy string bass line, heavy synthetics, and a serious “woah…” factor. Much like a kaleidoscope, a first listen is almost 100% unpredictable: one just cannot guess what will morph out of the swirling beats and ambient vocals.
Amp Live is the producer responsible for Zion-I’s beat successes. This album is a breakaway from pure hip-hop production, instead favoring avant-garde musical movements that sound like a combination of Weather Report’s intense jazz and Flying Lotus’ trip-hoppy irreverence for musical convention. On the whole, this album seems to disregard what is considered normal in electronic music, combining influences from just about every style imaginable. On “Fast Break” one will be grooving to four-on-the-floor dance steps for a minute with some Mile’s Davis-esque trumpet over the top and then… POW. Something completely different drops. It’s really all over the place, but because of this, it’s also a tremendously fun attempt. Not an album for the unadventurous listener or those with a specific sound in mind. Worthy of borrowing or burning, but perhaps not buying. 3.7/5.