Amerigo Gazaway's Fela Soul that I came up Oddisee and the grooving, smooth and mellow Rock Creek Park. Having a great network of music, especially artists who aren't immediately recognized by major or even Indie labels, is the soul of the internet music scene. And I have to give a shout out to Mello Music Group's bandcamp set for opening my ears and my proverbial eyes to something truly wonderful. Through 12 tracks, Rock Creek Park provides a seemingly endless store of goodwill, charm and honestly, genuine great feelings. The musical arrangements, complete with horns and strings and some excellent drum beats, are nothing short of perfect. This is an elegant, peaceful album that brings joy every time it plays. And in Oddisee's own words: "This album is my interpretation of [Washington, D.C.'s] Rock Creek Park through break beats, samples & live instrumentation." And the album feels like that. It's a park day album. It is a calming refuge from the hustle of the city and the day's responsibilities. And it's really infectious. Since listening to it the first time, I have chocked at least 5 additional listens (all in a couple of days) and considering how music I find around me all the time, this staying power is a testament to the quality and the beauty of Rock Creek Park.
There isn't a bad track here. And while I could nitpick a phrase or two, I don't have any interest in doing so. Songs like "Skipping Rocks" and "The Carter Barron" create such a chill atmosphere that they're almost impossible not to like. But the kicker, especially with those two tracks, is that they're also incredibly memorable. This isn't just mood music. These aren't just songs that feel good but digest faster than Chinese food. They stick with you. For all of the light pleasure inside, they're still stick-to-your-ribs music. The break-beat, funky, horn-strewn "Scenic Route to You" is brilliant and bass-heavy. The delicate and jazzy "All Along the River" feels like a careful prance along the banks that leads you to the dancier "Uptown Cabaret." And as I said, there's just not a bad piece to this pie. "Clara Barton" and "Beach Dr." are both stellar. But "Mattered Much" may be the best of the final 5. It just seethes with jazzy passion and quiet joy. And there's a little bit of something I've heard before in there. Ultimately, Rock Creek Park is an album that takes the Jazz Fusion of late Miles Davis to another level, but it's never inaccessible or problematic. It's just really, very fucking good.
The final two tracks, one a lyric'd version of "Mattered Much" featuring Olivier Daysoul, and the closer "For Certain" featuring Diamond District are two epic ways to end this already chill and exceptional set. The quality rhymes and pacing guide you to the inevitable silence when the music ends, and leave you feeling empowered, refreshed and positive. It's just good shit. That's it. Just good shit. You should listen to this. And then buy it. Paying a mere $7.99 for this is a steal. And I'm sure you'll find yourself listening to it time and time again. Check it out here. And then go to the bandcamp site.
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