28 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

An up-and-coming producer out of Detroit, Apollo Brown has been busy as of late, dropping a slew of impressive projects, both with MCs (Gas Mask and Brown Study) and without (Make Do). On Clouds, he goes the instrumental route again, concocting 27 short but sweet, rap-free joints composed mostly of super-chill, low-BPM loops, heavy on the chimes, breezy guitars, and slow but funky elastic bass grooves. With a mellow sound clearly influenced by J Dilla, Oddisee, 9th Wonder, and early DJ Shadow (especially apparent on "Human Existence"), this is mood music ideally suited for headphones and personal contemplation. Most of the tracks here blend together easily, and while others are definitive head-nodders despite their languid pace. The synth-infused "Drinking Life," Pharcyde-sampling "Shoot the Heart," and Lonnie Liston Smith-inspired "Bridge Through Time" are standouts.

EDITORS’ NOTES

An up-and-coming producer out of Detroit, Apollo Brown has been busy as of late, dropping a slew of impressive projects, both with MCs (Gas Mask and Brown Study) and without (Make Do). On Clouds, he goes the instrumental route again, concocting 27 short but sweet, rap-free joints composed mostly of super-chill, low-BPM loops, heavy on the chimes, breezy guitars, and slow but funky elastic bass grooves. With a mellow sound clearly influenced by J Dilla, Oddisee, 9th Wonder, and early DJ Shadow (especially apparent on "Human Existence"), this is mood music ideally suited for headphones and personal contemplation. Most of the tracks here blend together easily, and while others are definitive head-nodders despite their languid pace. The synth-infused "Drinking Life," Pharcyde-sampling "Shoot the Heart," and Lonnie Liston Smith-inspired "Bridge Through Time" are standouts.

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About Apollo Brown

Hailing from the West Michigan town of Grand Rapids, Apollo Brown is a hip-hop producer working out of Detroit. In the tradition of left-field beatmakers like the great J Dilla and Madlib, Brown is a man of many influences, with a sound that owes as much to the yacht rock of Seals & Crofts as it does to classic R&B, pulling from all corners of the music world to craft beats that are as interesting musically as they are rhythmically. While Brown started making beats as a bedroom producer in 1996, it wasn't until he moved to Detroit and became a part of the city's hip-hop scene that he really began to make a name for himself with his production skills on his first pair of beat albums, 2007's Skilled Trade and 2009's Make Do. In 2009, Brown won the Detroit Red Bull Big Tune Championships, and later that year the producer signed on with Mello Music Group. The following year, Apollo released The Reset, an album of remixed tracks featuring MCs like Black Milk and Big Pooh, and followed it up later that year with Brown Study, a collaboration with Boog Brown. Apollo Brown returned with another pair of albums in 2011, the instrumental Clouds and the Hassaan Mackey collaboration Daily Bread. Keeping up his prolific streak, two collaborations followed in 2012, Trophies, featuring OC, and Dice Game, a team-up with Detroit rapper Guilty Simpson. In 2015, he issued Grandeur, a feature-filled album with Big Pooh, Oddisee, Sean Price, and many others. This was followed by 2016's The Easy Truth, a collaboration with Skyzoo. ~ Gregory Heaney

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