As the storm of mediocrity continues its torrential downpour over much of the music world, the release of Live Human’s Elefish Jellyphant couldn’t have arrived at a better or more necessary time. Yet another act to emerge from the fertile crescent of talent, San Francisco, the trio comprised of DJ Carlos Aguilar, multi-percussionist Albert Mathias and bass maestro Andrew Kushin invoke the free-form spirit of jazz to possess hip-hop music. Mission accomplished. The group reaches into the hip-hop aesthetic and pulls out a feast of scattered samples, exquisite vinyl molestation and, of course, live instrumentation.
Some cuts are reminiscent of the turntable hijinks of fellow Bay Area miscreants Invizibl Skratch Piklz, only the live double-bass and percussion attack of Kushin and Mathias offer a more distinct, broader sound. Aguilar (aka DJ Quest) accentuates the musicians with his turntable tricks, turning Elefish into a high-speed game of Pong without a decisive winner. The sample-ridden “Quick Eleven” and the avant-drum n’ bass thumper “2 AM” are surrounded by a wall of eye-popping bass and thundering percussion of tablas, kotos, snares and toms. Although the flow from track to track wavers somewhat, that is seemingly the goal of the free-form movement. A delight from start to finish, Elefish Jellyphant deserves to break down the barriers and usher in a new musical revolution.
Matador Records, 625 Broadway, Twelfth Floor, New York, NY 10012-2319; http://www.matador.recs.com