12 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

It's telling that two samples on Lee Bannon's sprawling Ninja Tune debut album are from Darren Aronofsky films. Like those bar-setting breakthroughs—psychological thrillers that put mathematicians on the same horror-struck plane as heroin addicts—Alternate/Endings crackles with a kinetic energy that's full of style and substance. On the surface, it falls right in line with the recent jungle revival that's made skittish drum breaks vital again. If you crank it through crisp speakers, however, everything suddenly blooms into a bright, multi-channel meditation on what it means to make a mission statement. In Bannon's case, that amounts to a deliberate departure from the bold hip-hop beats he's cooked up for underground heads like Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA. Rather than deliver a record full of MC-free instrumentals, the Sacramento native has honored his hometown's warehouse roots with heavily layered dance loops that are rooted in live bass parts (by The Mars Volta's Juan Alderete), cryptic field recordings, and a restless sampler. Alternate/Endings is a fresh, welcome chapter in a story that drum'n'bass purists closed years ago.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It's telling that two samples on Lee Bannon's sprawling Ninja Tune debut album are from Darren Aronofsky films. Like those bar-setting breakthroughs—psychological thrillers that put mathematicians on the same horror-struck plane as heroin addicts—Alternate/Endings crackles with a kinetic energy that's full of style and substance. On the surface, it falls right in line with the recent jungle revival that's made skittish drum breaks vital again. If you crank it through crisp speakers, however, everything suddenly blooms into a bright, multi-channel meditation on what it means to make a mission statement. In Bannon's case, that amounts to a deliberate departure from the bold hip-hop beats he's cooked up for underground heads like Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA. Rather than deliver a record full of MC-free instrumentals, the Sacramento native has honored his hometown's warehouse roots with heavily layered dance loops that are rooted in live bass parts (by The Mars Volta's Juan Alderete), cryptic field recordings, and a restless sampler. Alternate/Endings is a fresh, welcome chapter in a story that drum'n'bass purists closed years ago.

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About Lee Bannon

Left-field hip-hop producer Lee Bannon (born Fred Warmsley in 1987) hit his stride in the late 2000s/early 2010s as he began working with some of the biggest names in underground rap, including Curren$y, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Talib Kweli, and Inspectah Deck. In addition to producing, he made his own instrumental albums of atmospheric beats. The first solo project by the Sacramento-based beatsmith found him using only Marvin Gaye samples for the Me and Marvin EP. In addition to releasing a few mixtapes, Bannon crafted two instrumental albums, 2009's The Big Toy Box and 2011's The Big Toy Box, Vol. 2. He also compiled a retrospective of songs that he'd produced between 2009 and 2011 called Compilation of Bannon for Dummies. On New Year's Eve 2011, following a screening of Drive, he was inspired to create a soundtrack for an imaginary movie, titled Gnarlon Bando's Midnight Noir, which became a hip commodity on Bandcamp. The expansive Fantastic Plastic, released in February 2012 on Los Angeles' Plug Research label, featured guest spots from Del and Chuck Inglish, among others. The producer's 2013 activities included a handful of free download projects, several contributions to Joey Bada$$'s Summer Knights, and the raw drum'n'bass track "NW/WB," all of which led up to December's Alternate/Endings, an adventurous album for Ninja Tune. Main/Flex followed on the Babygrande label in 2014, this time featuring Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante on a raw drum'n'bass track along with MC Hak from the Ratking collective. Bannon returned to Ninja Tune in 2015 for the release of Pattern of Excel, which marked another shift in musical direction, this time toward ambient/drone music. ~ Jason Lymangrover

HOMETOWN
Sacramento, CA
BORN
1987

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