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Boomkat Product Review:
Featuring contributions from Ariel Pink, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig and Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, Cassette City was never going to be an ordinary hip hop album. Philadelphia MC and producer Raj Haldar marked himself out as a talent to be closely watched when his Grey Album-style mash-up of Kanye West's College Dropout and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds attracted over two million downloads. With Cassette City, Lushlife has balanced classic hip hop sensibilities with epic production and indie experimentation, resulting in an outstanding long-player. The opening three songs combine chopped orchestrations with wonderfully heavy beats before 'Meridian Sound' (split into three parts) redirects the album into a more exploratory direction. Part one features a Steve Reich-like approach to repetition and minimalism, while part two strips the piece down to what might be termed rap chamber music, with accompaniment from piano, strings and woodwind The third and final part arrives as the final track on the album, openly aping Brian Wilson - probably most specifically 'You Still Believe In Me'. Ordinarily, when hip hop takes so many eclectic elements to its heart something is lost along the way, but that's far from the case here: from the inspired arrangements to the lyrics, nothing about Cassette City disappoints.