Various Artists, Gem Drops I-II
Featuring tracks from crew members, affiliates and like-minded fellow travelers, either of these interchangeable compilations makes an ideal entry point for wading into the Dropping Gems static bath. Genre is irrelevant, but the paletteâwatery atmospherics, cut-up hip-hop beats, deep-sea bleeps ânâ bloops, synths that glow like extraterrestrial faunaâis universal.
Natasha Kmeto, The Ache
Arriving on a fluttering tornado of synthesizer notes and crash-landing at the intersection of â90s R&B and post-millennial electronic pop, the buttery-voiced singer-producer steps out of the farmhouse like a computer-animated Dorothy, finger-snapping over hollowed-out beats and otherworldly bass tones and offering a glance at the future of soul.
Like he stuck a USB cable directly into his cerebral cortex and uploaded every great break and song fragment heâs ever heard onto his hard drive at once, John Kammerleâs warmly nostalgic beat tape sends samples tripping and skipping over each other, creating a pileup of memories that must be what a hip-hop headâs CT scan sounds like.
One of DGâs OGs, Kris Geffen takes the pulse of the cosmos and proves dearly departed hip-hop progressivist (and beat-scene guiding light) J Dilla didnât die, he just became one with the stars.
Wires and Chords
Appropriately for its name, this boy-girl pairing from Olympia makes shoegaze for people without feet. Programmed drums snap, crackle and shudder while plaintive guitars sulk in the shadows of spectral keyboard washes. Itâs mournfully beatific, if thatâs actually a thing.
HEAR IT: Stream and download these albums at droppinggems.bandcamp.com.