Enter The Magical Mystery ChambersAcclaim Mag interview with Tom Caruana (link)
New York Times / Artsbeat Blog interview with Tom Caruana (link)
Chicagoist Review (link)
Wait--before you start, we know that mash-up albums are, like, so last decade. We know that every so-called unsuspected relationship between rock and hip-hop has been bridged by ambitious producers all over the world who happen to have some acappella tracks and GarageBand. While we still love the great bits, like Chicago's own The Hood Internet, so much of it is just sloppily placed together, without regard for what makes two different tracks work well harmonically. But, amidst a trend that we can't quite figure out is leaving or here to stay indefinitely, every once in a while a well-intended and talented soul finds the right match. In this case, it's Tom Caruana and his free album pitting Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles, Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers.
Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers explores the entire chronology of Wu-Tang, using tracks and verses from all eras, including group and solo efforts, and stages them against the instrumentation of The Beatles. What stands out about Caruana's mash-up album is that it maintains a hip-hop feel while allowing The Beatles' dynamic musical bits to peak through. Had RZA not been dabbling in classic Charmels tracks and instead buried himself in the Beatles back-catalog, this is the album he might have produced. Caruana uses his samples selectively, only taking the best parts and reinterpreting them in true hip-hop fashion. In a radically different world where The Beatles are not the biggest band to ever exist, this album could have dropped in 1993 and we would have called it just another great record, not some gimmick as manifest through current music trends. And that's why it's great.
Tom CaruanaM3 - A conversation with Tom Caruana
Further Into The Woods (review by Certified Banger)
Fresh from Tea Sea Records is Tom Bombadeal’s follow up to 2007's 'Songs From The Wood'. ‘Further Into The Woods’ is a far as a magical mythical character from middle earth gets to releasing a mixtape. It’s a prequel to Bombadeal’s main album (which is as yet untitled) which will tell a story in sequence and will feature some familiar characters from ‘Songs From The Wood’ and ‘Further Into The Woods’.
At 35 tracks, yet only 50 minutes long, this is like a collection of snapshots giving insights into the world of Tom Bombadeal. What strikes me is that, despite this being set in an imaginary world, this album really captures many aspects of modern day life – and it makes me glad to be alive.
As you saunter through The Shire with Tom you meet the Sun, the Moon, trees, a witchdoctor, a troll and many more characters some voiced by rappers Elemental, 777, Dizraeli and Teej. Tom’s production is beautifully folksy making this as un-Hip Hop as Hip Hop gets – it’s extremely refreshing and in the short time I’ve owned this album I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to it.
‘Further Into The Woods’ is out now on Tea Sea Records and I can’t urge you enough to go pick this up from them or Suspect Packages. But be warned, if you do buy it; be ready to be stripped of all your rap inhibitions. Play this one for yer kids.
It's So Different Here (review by Certified Banger)
Don your lifejacket, hoist the mainsail – and then slip Tom Caruana’s latest LP ‘It’s So Different Here’ into your yacht’s boombox. Embark on a voyage to somewhere truly unlike the usual realms of UK Hip Hop.
Caruana’s newest album is a pastiche of amusing snippets, bits and bobs and rapping over happy time beats – TC certainly keeps things interesting. With less than half the tracks resembling traditional rap songs it’s fun for the whole family.
The title track sees Tom rapping about fishing over a sample previously heard on a Beatnuts track, single ‘Someone Else’ speaks volumes of truth about the personalities we all choose and ‘Wonderlust’ featuring Vecks is straight up head bob Hip Hop. Elemental features on ‘Blind Bob’s Vengeance’ which is a breakneck speed pirate themed track – top stuff.
For lots of laughs head over to Tea Sea Records and order yourself a copy of ‘It’s So Different Here’ – don’t take your bloodclart selves so seriously UK Hip Hop heads. This LP is the follow up to 'Welcome Aboard' (available free from Buda Beats or on CD from Disorda at Suspect Packages) and if you really get into the mood of things Tom's holding a colouring-in competition so people can colour in the front and back cover and send them in to me, the best one will get printed as a limited edition reissue - the page to download the artwork is www.teasearecords.net/competitions.
The Splice Of Life
Wicked 12" just had to write to tell u, lov all the trax and smashin them all out , especially it's arch and i created this style. i dont know if this has been out long or when i got it but this is really good.
OVERALL A STRONG 12”. TOM’S BEATS ARE DOPE, AM LOVING THE ‘ITS ARCH’ BEAT. STARTS OF REALLY STRAIGHT AND THEN WITH THE ADDITION OF A LITTLE SHUFFLE LOSSENS UP INTO A HEAVY DANCEFLOOR TRACK. SYNTAX KILLS IT ON ‘STRAIGHT UP’. BIG UP BREAKIN BREAD. WILL SUPPORT ON RADIO.
Feeling Tom's production - especially on 'It's Arch'. Lyrics are all tight from the mcs and DPF steps a gear on 'I Created This Style'. 'Choosing The Right Bird' is very amusing! Charted at no.12
Eddie Rishue (Steady Diggin Workshop / Carbon Imprints)
Another quality release from the BB lads, high in value (yeah I know it was free but...) with a good range of styles (both beats and the emcee's), Toms got some wicked beats and a sense of humour (very important). Great stuff, nice cover too.
DJ Cro (Main Ingredient Radio Show, Medicine Bar, Attik)
Really nice EP, loving “Its Arch”. The other 2 tracks are solid too, but unlikely to be suitable in clubs for anything other than a warm up bit. Will probably be playing “I created this style” on the radio a little, as I really like the vocal on that. But would have bought this on the strength of Its Arch anyway, and will be giving it 9/10 in City Lights, possibly as tune of the month depending on what crops up between now and then.
Santero (Stealth/Freeze Fm/City Lights)
Took me a couple of listens to get into, but really good. Played on the radio this week.
Chris Read (Substance)
I really like the flow on the first track, the beat is wicked and bassy and actually mixes well with JAYLIBs ‘the red’
Joe Rorke (Music Evolution)
Tom Caruana made excellent hip hop ride at his “The Splice Of Life” EP…
“Its Arch” is the winner for me, FAT FAT FAT, what else i can say…
“Straight Up” delivered a great flow as well, both tracks will roll for a long time…
Tom Caruana's single is crazzzy, my favourite is I Create This Style, but all the tracks are heavy and the cover too.
Good solid ep, more please!
Love the beats
Sean Shiggz - Rawganics
This guy is an interesting producer for sure
Andy Smith - Portishead
WordsmithRoad Mans Showcase (Son Records)
Murderous compositions. Wordsmith reps Brixton bloodily. Itis an odd sensation at first. Imagine the blend of the gangster and punchlines that made Fat Joe of certain vintage, then put it up against the kind of beats that made their way via Finsta Bundy to Lewis Parker and then in a fresh incarnation Jehst. Then you've got the approximate mix that makes up 'The Roadman Showcase'. Music for the inrrospective thug? Whatever, Wordsmith packs a lyrical punch and that's what ultimately stands out on this impressive debut.
HHC APR 05
Last years 'More Than Words can Say' EP quickly established South London's Wordsmith as one of the next generation of emcees ready to help share the weight and carry our homegrown hip-hop scene forward. The potential contained within grooves of that impressive release is further expanded upon throughout 'The Roadman Showcase', a collection of tracks pulled from the rapper's extensive back catalogue before the release of his official debut project .Entirely produced by Caruana, the chemistry displayed between the pair here only serves as evidence that the best is yet to come. Wordsmith murders the competition over the medieval strings of 'Millenial Mic', while offering a sincere tribute to hip-hop that anyone who truly values the music will instantly relate to, not least because of a moving verse from the talented Genesis Elijah. Occupying the middle ground between the twisted visions of Roots Manuva and the street science of Klashnekoff , its Wordsmith's ability to let listeners into his world that will ensure his name goes down as one of the UK's brightest talents.
BLUES & SOUL, MAR/APR 05
Bladow! Arriving in a hail of cinematic orchestration, the man like Words follows on his underrated debut EP with a damn fresh longplayer. Caruna handles the boards to produce a lush soundscape that works mighty fine with the RBX-ish gruffness of Mr. Smith. As the title suggest, each track sees Words telling street tales of women, heists and maoney, and then a mixture of them all, and then again in different orders and varying ways. But you know what, as a representative of hip-hop fans everywhere, sometimes that's all I want. Matter of fact, I'm exceedingly glad that MC's like Wordsmith and gruesome instrumentals such as these exist, so that we grateful public can release the dark voices in our heads that would otherwise make the veins in our foreheads pop out slightly more. Genesis Elijah also features, tearing up verses on any track he's on, and sets himself up lovely for any solo EP that might be forthcoming. It's definitely for fans of the gritty styles, but the album occasionally touches on jazzy and retrospective moments to give the project a lighter garnish. Road Man Showcase adds a perfect soundtrack to any Agatha Christie murder mystery, albeit one where Poirot has a bop and a doo rag..
UNDERCOVER FEB 05
Signed to Son Records last year and making a big noise with his debut EP, 'More Than Words Can Say' Brixton-based mic-man Wordsmith drops a debut LP that should shoot him up the hip-hop ladder. If you're looking for off-the-wall experimentation then you won't find it here but what you will find is a strong album that keeps you locked in right up to the end. The production from Caruana is intense and dramatic, with early Wu-Tang influences to the fore(for evidence check 'The Analyst' 'Dreamchaser' and 'Zion') but with enough variety to entertain. Lyrically the album is heavy, but such verbal density never becomes oppressive. Instead the clear spacious delivery of Wordsmith and guest MC Genesis Elijah sucks you in straight away and with a real cohesion between the beats and MC's makes for an album you'll want to listen to over and over again.
IDJ MAY 05