(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )

FYI (2013), 5/10
H.B.O. (2016), 6.5/10
Dump Gawd - Hommy Edition (2017), 5.5/10
Dumpmeister (2017), 5.5/10
Luh Hertz (2017), 6.5/10
The G.A.T. (2017), 6.5/10
Fete Des Morts (2017), 5/10
Bulletproof Luh (2018), 5/10
Tuez-Les Tous (2019), 6/10
Kill Em All (2019), 5/10
Mach's Hard Lemonade (2020), 6/10
Pray for Haiti (2021), 6/10
Balens Cho (2021), 4.5/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

New Jersey-based Haitian-American rapper Mach-Hommy debuted with mixtapes such as Goon Grizzle (2004) and countless EPs. His first album FYI (2013) already encapsulated his complex raspy style and free-association lyrics with songs like Sauer Suite and Gnarly Dude (embellished with a furious beat by Knxwledge), besides jazzy moments (Midrash) and a couple of trap songs (notably Blue Movies).

He restarted his career with the 18-song H.B.O. (2016), whose title stands for "Haitian Body Odor", and mostly produced by August Fanon. This album of lo-fi boom-bap rap, that frequently harked back to the jazzy boom-bap sound of the 1990s and quickly became an underground cult item, boasted literate free-association lyrics, delivered in a stately baritone and dressed up with Fanon's creative productions: Ti Geralde messes with Bardo Pond's psych-rock jamming (Yellow Turban, off their 1996 album Amanita); the neurotic and emotional 1080p rides over mellow soul strings and the tinkling jazz piano of Joachim Kuehn (Black Tears, 1974); Tunnel Vision turns Frank Zappa's Redneck Eats (off his 1970 album 200 Motels) into a dissonant industrial soundscape; and highlight Plenty stages a chaotic, dense and hypnotic soundscape (with a comic coda of the jingle "One of These Things" used in the 1970s children TV series for children "Sesame Street"). Unfortunately, the second half of the album was often repetitive or mediocre, like the somnolent HBO, with the exception of the trance-y Trezeta Air Max and Thank God, a "stoned" duet with the otherworldly crooning of Minako Yoshida's Utsuriyuku Subeteni (1975).

Dump Gawd - Hommy Edition (2017) contains a spectacular collaboration with producer Earl Sweatshirt, Nothin' But Net, and a general display of rapping skills, but little of substance.

Dollar Menu 3 - Dump Gawd Edition (2017) was a collaboration with Atlanta's rapper and producer Tha God Fahim (Fihim Martin), which was followed by Wide Berth (2018) and Notorious Dump Legends (2018). ThatGodFahim appeared on many Mach-Hommy songs, before and after these formal collaborations.

The production improved dramatically on the brief 12-song Dumpmeister (2017), that was also embellished by a disorienting cast of features, resulting in exhilarating songs like Quartz Movement (produced by Los Angeles producers Michael "House Shoes" Buchanan and Swarvy), Gourmandise (produced by Sean "Camoflauge Monk" Corey) and especially Baas-Key-Yacht (a collaboration with Australian producer Jahvis "The Prxspect" Sawney). The album is littered with features, notably the one by Billy Woods of Armand Hammer in 383 Myrtle (produced by Los Angeles producer Michael "Evidence" Perretta). Knxwledge produced Ron van Clief and Faraday Cage. Alchemist soundpainted Canary Rhombus, Philadelphia producer Sadhu Gold crafted Riviera Ralph and Bacalao & Provision, and Sage "Navy Blue" Elsesser created the beat for Sherwin Williams.

The even shorter Luh Hertz (2017), just eight songs for a total of 28 minutes, and each song basically untitled (x, xx, etc), is perhaps August Fanon's best production. For example xxxxxx has a lively soundscape that sounds like a duo for typewriter and saxophone. Somehow the creative soundscapes stimulate the eccentric, witty and literate art of Mach-Hommy, notably in xxxxx.

Equally sensational was Fanon's jazzy production on The G.A.T. (2017), of which only one vinyl copy was released, and whose title stands for "The Gospel According To", making it automatically a collector's item. The songs are again untitled (I, II, etc). It is an aural journey, particularly in II.

Unfortunately, it was followed by the mediocre Bulletproof Luh (2018), his "romantic" album, an album of love raps.

To cap his "annus mirabilis", Fete Des Morts (2017) contains TTFN, with another masterful beat, this time by Earl Sweatshirt.

Following their first meeting in the songs Blue Horseshoes and Contagion Theory on Soul Assassins' album Dia del Asesinato, Mach-Hommy and hip-hop producer DJ Muggs released two collaborations, namely Tuez-Les Tous (2019), which contains two of DJ Muggs' best beats (900K and The Fowler's Snare), and Kill Em All (2019), with the abstract, psychedelic The Omni.

Up to this point Mach-Hommy had cultivated the image of an elusive rapper, whose albums were printed in limited editions like collector items, basically glorified demo-tapes. Tuez-les Tous was Mach-Hommy's first widely available album.

After the seven-song EP Wap Konn Joj (2019), which contains Chiney Bush with a beat by The Alchemist and generally more abstract productions, the nine-song 22-minute mini-album Mach's Hard Lemonade (2020) feels like merely an experiment in different styles of production and different styles of delivery. It contains some of his most elegant creations: Soon Jah Due (over a swampy soundscape by the mysterious Messiah Muzik and featuring Earl Sweatshirt); the Nicholas Craven-produced numbers Squeaky Hinge (a soulful tune wrapped in orchestral ether) and Marshmallow Test (with angelic female wordless crooning); Photocopy Sloppy (with chaotic post-dub production by Earl Sweatshirt), Smoked Maldon (another collaboration with ThatGodFahim, with quasi-dub pace, macabre sax and intergalactic electronics), and especially the DJ Preservation-produced Pour House (nocturnal rhythm and sax, gothic choir, dueling rhymes with Your Old Droog).

Mach-Hommy also co-produced Your Old Droog's Dump YOD (2020), perhaps a better album.

Finally, Mach-Hommy (now that his real identity was widely known) returned with a more ambitious album, the 16-song Pray for Haiti (Griselda, 2021), with production supervised by Alvin "Westside Gunn" Worthy, conceived as a sort of follow-up to Westside Gunn's Pray for Paris (2020). This polished effort contains some killer productions, especially Sean "Camoflauge Monk" Corey's in the dejected and multi-faceted Murder Czn and Denzel "Conductor Williams"' beat for Makrel Jaxon in a sitar-like timbre. Off the charts is Denny LaFlare's quasi-gamelan tribal percussion in Ten Boxes / Sin Eater. On the rapping front, another highlight is No Blood No Sweat, another Camoflauge Monk production. Denzel "Conductor" Williams produced the two of the best soundscapes: Folie A Deux (the best boom-bap beat) and the frantic sax-tinged The Stellar Ray Theory (that implodes more than ends). The album sometimes slides into mellow atmospheres, like the two duets with Melanie Charles Kriminel (produced by Nicholas Craven) and Au Revoir (produced by James "DJ Green Lantern" D'Agostino). It's an uneven effort that also suffers from not having a real killer tune.

The seven-song 24-minute mini-album Balens Cho (2021) contains Wooden Nickels (that elegantly couples an ethereal jazz piano sample with Sam Gendel's live saxophone lament) and Self Luh (which deconstructs Bread's moronic ballad Everything I Own) that are worth of his canon, but is mostly a lackluster affair, possibly his worst release yet. (The album lists 13 songs but 6 are miniature interludes).

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )