In the last weeks of 2013, Weston Rundle made final preparations to release an album he had been working on for the later half of the year. Being not only his brother but also a genuine believer in his unique take on sample-based, hip hop infused music, I was only too happy to do some designs for him. It helps when the source material is as great as the tunes that make up Transitional Phase.
The record, comprising a trove of disparate and eclectically sourced samples supported by occasional accents of live recordings and vocal work, reveals my brother’s consistent pursuit of capturing and evoking emotions perhaps unique and private to him, conveying to the listener a series of fleeting and foggy impressions that dissolve as abruptly as they appear. The brief songs—scarcely breaking the three-minute mark—bounce around, Dilla-esque, with a hyperactive disregard for sustained inquiry. A point is made, then set aside for later cross-referencing. There is a sense that the tunes represent individual notions in a well-researched and thoughtfully composed meditation on sample music itself and its inseparable relationship with the hip hop tradition. The record’s clear engagement with the formulas of hip hop production (the thing, for example, was created entirely on an MPC1000) is abstracted by a general non-use of consistent rhythm, while bearing a deliberate preoccupation with the idea of repetition itself. In short, it’s not a beat tape, and if it invites rap lyrics at all, they would have to be as nimble and off-kilter as the music. Transitional Phase fits as well in the experimental and ambient realm as it would in the Stones Throw stoner canon. I think it’s great.
Listen and download for free here.
Ishmael Butler and Stasia Irons at Sasquatch this summer.