Russian DJ/producer LTF has a knack for finding breaks, horns, flutes, double basses, and vocal fragments that are waiting for him in the dustiest and deepest crates of vinyl. Monolith is the official follow-up to 2018’s Jazz Echo LP.
The record is entirely crafted from sampling rare Soviet jazz and funk records from his home country of Russia and other former Soviet countries. Turned into deep and heavy instrumental hip-hop, with analog synthesizers, dub techniques, and subtle knob turns on a delay pedal to morph the context of these samples.
Just like how James Brown “gives the drummer some” on the iconic ‘Funky Drummer’, the album opens with LTF paying his respect to the horn section with ‘Give The Horns Some,’ over a heavy hip-hop production that’s as deep as it gets. The body-moving ‘King of Funk’ traces back to LTF’s days as a b-boy over a funk-drenched beat, leaving the listener wondering how the sampled middle-aged guy from 1970s Hungary can be so funky… ‘Flute Blaster’ is a distorted and downtempo cut, continued on ‘Messenger’ with an analogue synthesizer and horns taking the trip-hop beat into an otherwordly direction.
The title of ‘Mystic Brew’ might salute the classic virtuoso jazz-funk gem by Ronnie Foster as sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Madlib & others, but the track (recently featured on Black Milk Music’s BMM Vol. 1 compilation) is anything but that. The choice for such a deep bassline is no surprise, knowing LTF is a stand-up bass player next a beatmaker and DJ. Below the hard-hitting drum break on ‘Inside’ there are hints reminiscent of David Axelrod’s ‘Urizen’—a dusty and rare Soviet sound-a-like of it.
The grooves of ‘Wrong Frequency’ explore the “retro-futuristic Soviet Wave” LTF aimed to present with this project (as explained in the liner notes of the backside of the record sleeve), before things get dreamy with ‘I Loop You’ featuring jazz trumpeter Ivan Akatov. The album’s closing track that’s infinitely looped on the limited vinyl release of ‘Monolith.’
Talking to LTF gives away influences such as Large Professor, The Herbaliser, Pete Rock, Damu The Fudgemunk, and dub engineer and producer Scientist. Sounds that all come together on ‘Monolith,’ on which LTF once again “lights the fuse” for hip-hop heads and crate-diggers alike.
Monolith will be released October 23rd on vinyl in a limited run of 300 copies (200 black, 100 on solid red wax), and on all digital platforms. Listen to the first single now, “Give The Horns Some”: