Music Reviews

Rapid Transit: A Chocolate Industries Compilation

Various Artists

Chocolate Industries

Rapid Transit is a budget priced introduction to Chocolate Industries, a formerly Miami, now Chicago-based label who are releasing some of the best hip-hop flavored electronics around. Or maybe that’s backwards. Maybe it’s electronic flavored hip-hop. Regardless, with names like While, Funkstorung, and Push Button Objects, CI knows what’s the score when it comes to creative sounds.

Along with Ninja Tune, the Anticon collective, and Quannum, the artists on Rapid Transit are pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and its progeny. Rapid Transit is part of a recent slew of killer compilations like Xen Cuts and Solesides Greatest Bumps. On it is an excellent blend of skewed electronics (Funkstorung, Sluta Leta) and hip-hop (East Flatbush Project, Rec Center).

Scott Herren appears on four of the fifteen tracks here, tying the disparate threads together. “7th Message” and “Livin Life” are in his Prefuse 73 guise, as is his remix of Ko-wreck Technique’s “Behavior.” He’s also half of Communication Project, whose “Do Tell” appears here.

Edgar Farinas’ fingerprints are all over the comp as well. Push Button Objects shows up with “Tooth Picks and Horses” and “Non-Existant” which is remixed by Gescom. Farinas’ collaboration with DJ Craze, Ko-wreck Technique, also makes an appearance with “Metro Dade.”

Roots Manuva (remixed by El-P of Company Flow) and the East Flatbush Project represent a more straightforward approach to hip-hop. There’s the obligatory remix of “Tried by 12,” a song which regardless of how many times I hear, I will never get tired of. Funkstorung give it a try here. They’ve got their own track, as well, “Aerogram,” which doesn’t sound too much like Autechre.

Rapid Transit is surprisingly consistent in terms of quality. Despite the range of sounds here, there’s a tangible sense of continuity that makes the comp cohere. It’s very worth checking out if you’re at all interested in where hip-hop and creative beats are headed.

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