Review by Kent Manthie
New, from Atlanta native, Vritra (ne Hal Williams), currently living it up in Los Angeles is Yellowing, some mellow hip-hop.
Vritra’s is a busy story, one which goes all the way back to when he was only 10. When in high school, Williams began NRK (short for “Nobody Really Knows”), a “hip-hop collective”, an engine for him to get his music out. It was in these early days that Vritra met Matt Martians, with whom Vritra started a friendship as well as a musical collaboration. The first project the two worked on together was the first project Vritra did for his fledgling NRK. Soon, Matt and Vritra joined forces and started Jet Age of Tomorrow. It was around this time Vritra moved out to Los Angeles to help Matt and Matt’s other band, The Internet, record their debut album, Purple Naked Ladies as well as to work with Matt on more Jet Age of Tomorrow stuff.
Bringing us up to 2014, Vritra, who, at this time was going by the moniker, Pyramid Vritra, recorded Indra and an EP, Palace, for Stones Throw Records.
Finally, we get to now: Pyramid Vritra has dropped the “Pyramid” and is just Vritra, a change which seems to represent more than just a cosmetic alteration; the new, clipped moniker seems to reflect a stylistic change to his music, as well as adapting his music to new, maybe wiser, more experienced place in life. This may be heard in the more intricate, mellow groove of Yellowing; its jazzy, suave feel, with elements of Drum & Bass, Jungle, hip-hop all grooving to a jazz-soaked backdrop. A perfect example of all this can be heard on the opener, “Fleeting Youth and Soundwave”. “PSA”, “Gumbi” and “Question and Demand” all are good examples of the coming together of years of experience, musical and otherwise.
Yellowing will be out on July 22nd. If you’d like to hear stuff from the album, go to https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/ . Hope you like what you hear. -KM.