Posted by: Johnny Loftus on June 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Factor, Chandelier (Fake Four, 2008)

MP3: “More Rude Than Handsome (Feat. Awol One)”

is holding it down in Saskatoon. Maybe the city located in south-central Saskatchewan seems remote to you. But hey, it’s only 15 hours from Minneapolis, Minn. and about six from Medicine Hat, Alberta, which is one of coolest names for a town in the history of names for towns. So, in the grand scheme, is Factor’s home base any different, distance-wise or otherwise, than any of the far-flung places that music bleeds out of on a daily, hourly basis? Nope. Chandelier, the producer’s first solo full-length, is instrumental hip-hop in the style of DJ Shadow with the added flourish of numerous MC guest shots. Sadat X of Brand Nubian (featured on the chopped funk of “Time of the Year”; he rhymes “tractor” with “Factor”…), Awol One of LA’s Shape Shifters crew (on the atmospheric, piano-tinged “More Rude Than Handsome”), and fellow Canadians such as Vancouver-based Josh Martinez — he dresses up the fluid pace of “The Leen” — and Noah23, who on “Electric Furs of a Lynx” namechecks Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth, New York Dolls, and others like a proper noun version of Aesop Rock. Other highlights include “On My Way” with Oakland, Calif. MC Kirby Dominant and “Last Night’s Dream,” a true instrumental that moves on a wave of melancholy. The Shadow reference isn’t shallow. Endtroducing worked (still works) because its creator discovered how to create effective substance from a form that often falls into samey territory. While Chandelier isn’t legendary, Factor has a way with a sample and a beat, and the MCs he’s working with seem to flow their vocals seamlessly into whatever quirk or moment he’s working with on their tracks. Put your hands up for Saskatoon. — Johnny Loftus

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