Wendel Patrick’s “Travel” is one of three projects he released this past New Year’s Day. This portion of the trio is a thirteen track collection of music, with each song named after a city Patrick visited while touring Europe. He covered a lot of territory while on the road as titles like “Rotterdam”, “Leipzig”, “Brussels” and “Zurich” indicate. Some of the cities named actually required me to get out some maps and to do some Googling, which I found kind of cool – geography and music all in one shot.
I was expecting “Travel” to be a hip-hop album. But it’s not strictly hip hop…it’s more than that. It is an expansive, inclusive version of hip hop that insists on innovative lyricism and original sounding vocals. And the music is equally wide-reaching, but still based in hip hop. It is as if Patrick packed up up every genre of music ever created, loaded them all on a big yellow bus, took them on a field trip to the ‘hood, and left them there for a few weeks to hang out. The music he got back when he returned to pick them up is what “Travel” is.
“Travel” includes guest performances from emcees Kane Mayfield, Saleem, and Eze Jackson. But it also has guest performances from vocalists Maria Dontas and Carolyn Malachi, who offers us her rapping incarnation on the very first track entitled “Los Angeles”. The music throughout has an urban, urbane feel to it, even in the cases when the location the song is named after isn’t a bustling metropolis. The musical arrangements on every song are quite creative, and every sound used, from keys to drums to turntable scratches, contribute equally to the melody and the beat of each song. This attention to detail on the construction of the tracks as well as the vocal performances makes “Travel” a very layered, very musical and a very thoughtful CD while still being a total banger that makes you move your body and nod your head.One of my favorite tracks is “Warsaw”, which features Saleem on the microphone. Check out the video (which Patrick shot himself — he creates all his own videos in addition to doing his music!)
His rapid fire delivery of gem-filled lines perfectly matched the urgency of the track, which pumps and pounds along with an insistent rhythm that leaves you breathless by the time it ends. I also enjoyed “Hamburg”, “Amsterdam” (no, not for that reason) and “Naples”. These tracks also clearly demonstrate Patrick’s J Dilla influences – but Patrick’s sound still remains very strong and very signature, and never comes off like a weak imitation of Yancey. Wendel Patrick’s “Travel” is appropriately named, because it really does take you on a journey through music and lyrics. It is an inspired piece of work that for me sits Patrick head and shoulders above other local so-called producers who think they have the “producer” name but really know nothing about the producing game. I strongly encourage you to go to www.wendelpatrick.com and support this man’s work. Next I’ll be checking out his Dilla tribute CD — stay tuned.
On Friday, April 4th at The Windup Space, Patrick will celebrate his 3 CD release with a show hosted by Femi The DriFish and featuring J Pope and Funk Friday, Saleem, Eze Jackson and DJ Dubble8. Admission is $8, and you can click here for details. Make sure you’re in the place!