Someday we’ll learn — likely in some cross-functional collaboration between a sociologist and a musicologist — not only how it is that old-school hip-hop production thrives in the former Soviet Union, but also how it is that the two leading influences seem to be Pete Rock and DJ Krush. The great netlabel dustedwax.org is one of the major players in the free-culture quadrant of post-soviet turntablism, and its digitally manipulated progeny. Just about every recording on the label has at least one seriously enjoyable track, and Project Monarch, by the duo of Tab & Anitek, is no exception. The duo, which is half based in the U.S. and half based in Switzerland, may not share geography with the majority of its labelmates, but the label’s inclusion of Monarch in its catalog is a confirmation of a specific aesthetic at work here: downtempo, arid palette, one or two central samples, soulful, textural. The strongest tracks are “Dormouse” (MP3) and “ArtiChoke” (MP3), both of which exude a strong Krush vibe.
Get the full album, 14 tracks in all, at dustedwax.org.