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Radio

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Album Review

The concept is an interesting one: make an album using samples from the radio, culled for over a year from various Los Angeles stations. The result, Radio, Exile's full-length solo debut (also, not particularly coincidentally, the name of LL Cool J's debut, the gift of which propelled young Ex toward a life of beatmaking), is a compelling, thoughtful, and thoroughly musical album. Technically, Radio is an instrumental record, as there are no rappers or singers over the beats, but as Exile pulls heavily with vocal samples, it hardly feels like one. A washed-out, nearly ethereal voice leads the majority of "Watch Out! False Prophet"; "San Pedro Cactus" focuses around the repeated phrase "blue light," and there are plenty of late-night DJ and commercial clips scattered throughout the entire thing. Exile has a message he wants to convey — the good and bad sides of radio, and the media — and he does his best to make it as clear as possible, and the lack of a singular vocal presence does nothing to diminish this. It's preaching but not preachy, directed but not direct. Because of this, the tracking on the album can feel a bit scattered, as the songs tend to bounce around from style to style (sometimes even within the song itself), but it doesn't actually create a problem; instead, it feels more representative of what radio itself really is, and how people listen to it, moving from channel to channel. "So We Can Move" "We're All in Power," and "Your Summer Song," both have that squelchy R&B West Coast swagger; "The Sound Is God" sounds like something out of the early Shadow catalog; "Population Control" plays with "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" to a surprisingly successful effect, and parts of "Mega Mix" could have been on Below the Heavens, Exile's collaboration with rapper Blu. Exile long ago established himself as one of the better underground hip-hop producers, but Radio establishes him as a viable and talented solo artist, as well.

Customer Reviews

Exile

You like flume youll love exile

Biography

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although Exile had already made a name for himself in the left coast hip-hop scene, both as part of the duo Emanon (with Aloe Blacc) and by producing tracks for Jurassic 5, Kardinal Offishall, and Mobb Deep, among others, it wasn't until the release of his 2007 album with rapper Blu, called Below the Heavens, that the Los Angeles-based producer began receiving attention and praise outside the West Coast community. Born Aleksander Manfredi in the late '70s, Exile grew up listening to both the traditional...
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Radio, Exile
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Contemporaries