Atmosphere Airlines

Drink Water Music/ • 2012

If you ask the history books, the combination of French hip-hop producers and American scene heavyweights seems to have devoted itself primarily to the traditional sample sound of the 90s. From MC Solaar’s Jazzmatazz contributions to the boombap bombs of the Jazz Liberatorz to the Drake beat dealer Häzel, the Franco-American friendship is permeated by jazzy and soulful references to J Dilla or Pete Rock. Meanwhile the Parisian beatmaker Dela is also cultivating this tradition on several albums by dint of vinly warm cratedigging in the proven manner of ATCQ. As he does on all his LPs, beat tapes and mixtapes, Dela also scours the funk, soul and jazz archives on »Atmosphere Airlines« while sprinkling a few instrumental interludes into the sound mix between the retro slides he sings of and by doing so orchestrates himself into assuming the role of protagonist of his own work without any pervasive signature sounds. An art which cannot be attributed to every producer’s album. The fact that conscious connoisseurs and underground veterans are best served by these organic golden era citations is also proven by the thoughtfully chosen guest list featuring regulars like Large Professor, Torae and Finale, which indeed does not have a single dropout to show for it. But apart from all the excellent featured artist performances, it is Blu’s membrane-scratching organ above all that fuses with Della’s Dexter Wansel flip »Mars (Remix)« to form a truly extra-terrestrial hydrometeor. »Atmosphere Airlines« refreshes the neo-nostalgia of backpack rap from around 2005, which produced young classics of the like of Blu & Exiles’ »Below The Heavens« and Buckshot’s »Chemistry«. Renaissance truly is French.