Kill Switch is the latest installment of a split instrumental series on the Fieldwerk label, showcasing a pair of producers as opposite sides of the same coin. Lazerbeak & Edison flip different styles for their hip-hop pieces, expanding an already crowded playing field in order to make room for their contributions to a larger harmonic conversation.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Lazerbeak sets things off with “Dedications,” a sweet interlude that features syrupy Rhodes piano and light bongo patterns over an inviting drum break. The additional vocals are enough to make you float away, but the fuzz guitar sting of “Stirring” snaps you back to reality. It's a psychedelic number with tribal percussion marching through the cymbal crashes and chord changes at the top of each measure. The bright staccato synth stabs and slight electro structure of “Boots & Pants” are soon pushed aside by the tough drum loops and melancholy accordion of “Winterlude.” Meanwhile, “Porch Light” and “Torch Light” are opposite reflections of each other, songs that share the same bloodline but possess completely different temperaments. The former bathes itself in quiet woodwinds and tranquil ambience, wearing an enchanting, shuffling rhythm that glistens with bells and vibes. The abrasive keys and rock attitude of “Torch Light” has an older, more weathered feel, but offers assurance that it hasn't lost its ambition as the drums kick in towards the conclusion.
Making his way from the Bay Area, Edison represents the flip side of the coin with a fistful of gritty productions. The foreboding guitars on “These Songs Are Rabies” act as the main hook while breaks get mercilessly chopped throughout the track. “All Hell Hath No Pennies” resurrects silvers of Bob James, repositioning them against angry guitar riffs and paranoid keyboard patterns. As each song flows into the next, they become malevolent movements of a larger suite. The drum break on “No One Can Hear You, They're Distracted” is so abusive that it practically grabs you by the back of the head and forces you to nod along (as if you hadn't been head nodding already). Edison's darker experiments add a great contrast to the Technicolor diversity of Lazerbeak's selections, making Kill Switch a release for the beat junkies to voraciously hunt down.