Hocus Pocus 73 Touches LP
Hocus Pocus' take on hip hop is truly refreshing to hear and stands strong amongst classics from the 90s or the new wave of independent labels
Straight out of France, Hocus Pocus are a breath of fresh air. Fusing the traditional elements of hip hop with those of a jazz band they bring to the plate a refreshing sound that has been turning heads from the continent to Japan and back. The MC and producer, 20Syl, and the DJ, Greem, represent the hip hop elements while the musicians bring the live element with a variety of instruments including drums, Rhodes, horns, bass. With 20Syl’s productions forming the backbone for the instrumentation, their take on hip hop is truly refreshing to hear and stands strong amongst classics from the 90s or the new wave of independent labels. Having slowly built their reputation in and around France for the last 4 years, Hocus Pocus have released their first full length album this year, ’73 Touches’, and it’s been going down a storm worldwide with featurings from Ty, The Procussions and the DJ crew C2C (2003 and 2004 DMC world champs), of which both 20Syl and Greem are members.
The album is quality throughout, offering up a variety of styles and flavours without losing track. It kicks off in party mode with the excellent ‘On and On pt2’ featuring Ty, a follow up to the track that established the crew and their label. On a Premo-esque beat 20Syl spits rhymes about the label and their firm resolution to stay independent and provide quality music without selling out. Ty’s verse completes the track perfectly and shows some nice versatility and contrast to the French rhymes. The album progresses on with some jazzy offerings (‘J’attends’), some more upbeat tracks (‘Zoo’, ‘J’aimerais’), a few straight up hip hop head nodders (‘Hip Hop?’ feat. The Procussions, ‘Comment on faisait?’) and some more interesting offerings such as the C2C featuring, ‘Feel Good’, which sees the two times world champions craft a lovely and melodic track using only their turntables.
‘Brouillon’ (sketch in French) is also a stand out, as 20Syl sketches different ideas for an unfinished song, hopping through a variety of styles in 2 minutes from a classic old school juggle, to a jiggy beat to a jazzed out groove. The album finishes with the title track, a mellow ode to classic Rhodes keyboards with some melancholic progressions, making it a perfect ending to a 40 minute ride through the sounds of Hocus Pocus. Don’t let the fact that these guys rhyme in French put you off, this is hip hop like they don’t make it anymore, drenched in classic styles and put through a blender of jazz and funk influences. Very tasty.
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