Artist: Count Bass D
Album: Act Your Waist Size
Label: Fat Beats
Rating: 8 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
This has been a LONG time coming.
It seems like we’ve (we meaning the cool kids) been talking about the making of this album, and the processes that were helping and hindering the making of this album ever since “Dwight Spitz” crept up on us and smashed us over the head in 2002. What can we expect? Why is it on Fat Beats? Is Doom on it? Will the “BegBorrowSteel” tracks be on there, or is this entirely new material? Blah blah blah ad infinitum.
But finally €“ the wait is over. “Act Your Waist Size” drops October 17th and because I got it like that (Â© Baby Bam) those nice Fat Beats people decided to bless me (nh) with an early preview copy so that I can
make y’all jealous give you an idea of what to expect before you hand over the hard-earned.
“Don’t sleep on the beats, though.” If it wasn’t already clear to you by now, ‘Internationally Known’ provides further blinding evidence that Count has mastered the MPC in a major way. Here the familiar percussion break gets ‘tinned up’ a little, as D (aided by Fat Joe in sample form) sprinkles vibrant piano rolls over the top and introduces listeners to his Nashville ‘padded room with a view’, where all the magic happens. The uniquely-named ‘Brazilian Landing Strip’ impresses in a different way, as we find the Count coming off in a more lyrical fashion here than on many of his other recent cuts – more than likely because its the first track in ages that runs over a minute in a length! ‘The Slugger Of Louisville’ will be familiar to many of the Count’s hardcore following, as a free download of this has already been the reward for their support. Meanwhile, ‘IMEANROC&RON’ and ‘Lunchroom Table Ensemble’ transport us back to the “Dwight Spitz” era, where track running times are short, and instrumentals usually rule over vocals.
‘Softly & Tenderly’ marks the halfway point in the album and is the second track to feature Count on the singing tip. As with the earlier ‘False Or True’, this cut is dominated by a sweet and syrupy sample, which pushes Count’s filtered vocals even further into the background… its not such a bad thing though, as the vocals here are um… a little… um… ‘off key’. Y’all know what I mean…
From here though, the album goes into overdrive. Count karaokes ‘Leaning On The Everlasting Arms’ to death over a superbly-crafted slice of funkiness, before the Van Hunt-produced ‘Half The Fun’ takes over the speakers. On some old Maxwell-cum-Brand New Heavies-cum-JazzyPhatNastees ish, this track will be lapped up by the Okayplayers straight away… but don’t let them have all the fun – this is some beautiful music for everyone, not just the navelgazers. Straight up.
The album continues with ‘No Time For Fakin’ reaching part three and updating the two earlier “Dwight Spitz” incarnations with Meters-ish stabs and tamborines bubbling underneath D’s vocals, before ‘Junkies’, arguably the strongest track on the album, takes over. Built around a disgustingly thick bassline, rapid piano rolls, and old school claps and hi-hats, ‘Junkies’ features Count breaking down the reality of the drug game, without a gangsta-ism in sight, while the scratched Cee-Lo hook adds the most addictive ingredient to the mix. ‘You Know That You Play This’ follows, and keeps things on a (musical) high, with rubbery organs rebounding off hard-edged snares while scores of vocals samples are dropped in the background.
Its expected that Oriana Lee (Mrs Count Bass D) will pop up somewhere, and its on ‘Pot/Liquor’ where she finally makes an appearance. Less expected is the appearance of countbassd.com messageboard stalwart Kid Captain Coolout on the same track, but his confident performance on the mic, delivered over trademark Count beats, should have you seeking out some more of his work. ‘No Comp’ sees Fat Joe pop up again on the sample tip – this time his hefty weight is supported by a vibrant concoction of synths and pianos while “the Sam Cooke of this independent rap shit” explains that he cannot be fucked with. ‘It Is IBass’ rounds things off – an instrumental piece that rambles just a tad as it brings the album to a close.
Overall, as expected, the Count has came through with another strong outing. Not everything is rosy in the garden (‘Case O’ Dilla’ for example, recycles ‘Low Batteries a little) but the high points here (‘Junkies’ and ‘Half The Fun’ in particular) make this easily worth dropping some dough on. As with “BegBorrowSteel”, I feel that this will be another Count album that his fans will take to almost immediately, but which will be initially a little inaccessible for newcomers. The instrumental feel of most of the work here will be instantly familiar to those with prior experience of the Bass D methodology, but new recruits may need to spend a little time checking their preconceptions at the door before entering.