Release Date: June 2, 2008
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Sounds like: Fast-paced hip-hop beats mixed with exuberantly jazzy horns, topped off with nimble turntable scratches and funky flourishes
The latest hip-hop/jazz/funk fusion comes from the unlikely Holy Land of Israel, where nonet The Apples have gained considerable steam on the strength of their eclectic and infectious blends. Eschewing traditional instrumentation like guitars and keyboards in favor of three DJS, four horn players, and a rock-solid drum-and-bass core, Buzzin’ About serves as an excellent introduction to The Apples’ immense talent. From the quirky acid-jazz feel of “Debil’s Dream” to the old world-influenced “Kol HaYom BaHalal,” The Apples cover large swaths of musical ground with ease. Classical sounds crash into the modern world on “Yablaki,” which features a feverishly fast off-key violin sample that pairs up nicely with its eerie ambiance, and the stuttered scratch-jazz of “Killing” updates bebop’s improvisational style for the 21st century. The shortest track on the album, “Run Shai Ran,” outshines the rest of Buzzin’ About in its brief minute-and-a-half, riding a loose New Orleans groove into an ecstatic horn-heavy sunset. A bit of scattered monotony sets in after Buzzin’ About’s 52 minutes, but this diverse and enjoyable debut proves that The Apples have the hooks and chops necessary for widespread success.