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Amplivate

Kid Beyond

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Album Review

Beatboxing — using only one's voice to create often highly intricate and funky drum patterns — is a well-respected art in the hip-hop community. But if the ability to beatbox well commands respect, the ability to do so at a virtuosic level commands something more along the lines of disbelief and can give rise to suspicion that the beatboxer has crossed the line into mere gimmickry. Kid Beyond goes one step further than virtuosity, not only creating beats and sounds that seem humanly impossible, but looping and layering them with his sung vocals and thereby creating complete musical compositions. If he could beatbox in a manner that would have you disbelieving your ears, that would be interesting for about three minutes. But because he invests his amazing skills in the creation of fully realized music, the result is music that is interesting in and of itself, regardless of how it was made. Kid Beyond's debut release is an eight-track EP containing three original compositions, a jaw-dropping arrangement of Portishead's "Wandering Star," and four remixes, all of which are fun enough but (ironically) none of which is as interesting as the original on which it's based. Highlights include the frenetically jungly "Mothership" and the more meditative and dreamy "Deep Inside." There's a deeply human sweetness to Kid Beyond's attitude, yet another aspect of his art that tends to set him apart from the hip-hop mainstream. The full-length follow-up can't come soon enough.

Amplivate, Kid Beyond
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