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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

October 25, 2012 at 5:43 AM

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Download these: Japan / Seattle hip-hop + folktronica

If you like instrumental hip-hop, laughter, salmon and butter, oh boy have I got the album for you: "Butter With a Side of Salmon" by Butter and Salmon. That's the nom de beats of two producers out of Japan that I have a suspicious feeling originally hail from the Pacific Northwest*, Herman Muenster and RKBIII. Wherever they're "from," they're from the Internet, stewing soulful samples into lowkey hip-hop by digital means. I smelled what they were cooking through their twitter and recently listened to "Butter With a Side of Salmon" on a loop all evening while cooking dinner. My ears perked up during "LIVE! At the Mantra," "Lagoon," "Planet Pluto" and "Grandma's Hands." These beats are meant for selling to rappers (I think), and in that event, I assume the interspersed snippets of dialogue about salmon and butter will be removed. But right now, the album is a satisfying and funny listening experience all on its own, all these women talking about "I have some salmon steaks, and you'll see they're quite large," and, "I'm gonna start with butter, and you'll need a quarter stick or a whole cup." I don't know. Maybe it's one of those things where you just have to listen? To me, a bizarre conceptual feel can only improve a smoothed-out, easygoing beat tape. This is that, so I'm into it. Bon appetit!

Speaking of Japan, I've been meaning to post this folktronica (folk + electronica) album "Galapagos" by Inner Space Man, a Seattle musician living in Japan, for a while. He used to play in the African-inspired band Zanga Zanga when he was in town. Basically Inner Space Man is lonely-person, auto-tuned singer-songwriter music intended for headphone listening, probably constructed while listening to headphones as well. Listening is a gentle, sentimental experience. If you're into it, I would say this is solid public transportation music. Metro bus would be good; light rail would be great. "Two Bells" is my favorite cut. It reminds me a little of Postal Service, a little of Sabzi from Blue Scholars' spinoff Made In Heights. Ch-ch-check it out.

*Update 11/02: I was wrong. They're from Pennsylvania, originally.

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