Thursday, January 28, 2010

Height With Friends - Baltimore Highlands Remix Album (

Height is kind of at the center of the weird, exciting indie hip hop scene going on in Baltimore these days that was responsible for the Baltimore All-Rap Round Robin last summer, which was the best show I saw in 2009, and his group project Height With Friends also released the excellent album Baltimore Highlands last year. So it's not surprising that the collaborative spirit of that show and that album led to a remix album of every track from the original, with Height's vocals laid over all new beats, which was made available for streaming and downloading by Most of the people that did remixes for this also worked on the original Baltimore Highlands, including Jones, PT Burnem and King Rhythm, so it's really not too far off from the overall sound and vibe of the original, even if some individual songs get pretty dramatic facelifts. One of the things I praised the original album for in my City Paper review was that "his verses sound custom made for each track, with unique cadences that dart in and out of the beat," so it's kinda weird to hear that exact quality removed, and sometimes the new beats just plain don't fit as well, and sacrifice that comfortable, handmade quality of the songs. But it's still a really dope experiment and I hope this scene continues to bubble and get people working together in creative new ways. Height and a lot of his friends are playing Bmore Musically Informed's big show at the Ottobar This Sunday.

"Cold And Shaken (AK Remix)" (mp3)
This was the track I posed from the original album last year, and it makes sense to post the remix now both because of that, and because it's one of my favorite tracks on either record. AK from AK Slaughterr throws a pretty hard beat under the vocal, but then in the second half of the track he really chops up the vocals and takes it in a whole other direction.

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