If the name Koushik sounds familiar, it’s because he’s infrequently been turning up on compliations on Stones Throw for years but the long awaited for proper album is nearly over, Out My Window drops September 29th!
Stones Throw Records released Be With in 2005 as collection of singles and EPs from 2002-2005 so this is really the debut album.
Just in case you don’t know, label boss Peanut Butter Wolf is as much into 60s folky summer of love as he is the hip-hop of the labels big hitters Madlib, Jay Dee (RIP) and electro of Arabian Prince (check out the new retrospective Innovative Life: The Anthology, 1984-1989) or the magnificence of James Pants. So when the label say “Everyone at Stones Throw thinks this is one of the best things we’ve ever released”, that might not be exactly ‘everyone’.
There’s no doubt that the single, ‘Lying In The Sun’ is a catchy mix of beats and psychedelic folky soul (nice ohh ohhhs and muted horns) whilst another standout is ‘Coolin’ and the title track. If you think of a mix of Mamas & Papas, The Free Design’s The Now Sound Redesigned (a project that included various underground Ubiquity/Stones Throw people including Koushik), The Polyphonic Spree and DJ Shadow, you’re not far from this ‘concept’.
The reason you hear vocal groups rather than Koushik as a single voice is that there’s so much echoy haze in the mix, it’s hard to hear exactly what’s he’s singing about. But wasn’t what the beautiful 60s psych-pop hits all about anyway? His mate Four Tet (who released Koushik’s first single), Prefuse73 and Nobody have all got into this area in the past and continued listens reap their own rewards.
There’s 16 tracks, some of which are mere snippets which can be annoying short, particularly the harp led ‘Buttaflybeat’ is criminally only 62 seconds long and could have been another Kenneth Bager & Gisli ‘Fragment Zero…And I Kept Dubbin’ (as featured on Brownswood Bubblers Three), the spacey ‘Outerlude’, the flutey ‘Forest Loop’ and the dreamscapeness of ‘Floating On’. However, such errors of judgement are soon overlooked with brilliant tracks like ‘See You’, ‘Corner Of Your Smile’ and ‘In A Green Space’.
Where does all this inspiration come from? He’s the son of Indian immigrants who grew up in Ontario and attended classical Indian singing lessons with his Mum in his youth. Added to that, his ‘DJ Shadow’ training was done on visits to the farmers market in Hamilton. With this background information, you can easily imagine how the seeds of this album were planted in his mind. Thankfully Prof. P. B. Wolf had the patience to let Koushif’s processes develop to maturity.
Definitely for fans of downtempo, experimental, leftfield, psychedelic, soulful hip-hop and for the party ‘James Pants‘ animals, there’s even a track for you; try ‘Bright And Shining’.
Smart money says tracks from this album will be popping up on compilation albums in the future so why wait, get involved with the sounds of Koushik now.
Reviewed: Koushik – Out My Window (Stones Throw Records) Cat. No: STH 2174 Released: 29th September 2008
1 Morning Comes (2:24)
2 Be With (4:12)
3 Lying In The Sun (3:38)
4 Coolin (3:24)
5 Buttaflybeat (1:02)
6 See You (2:57)
7 Nothing’s The Same (3:17)
8 Welcome (1:11)
9 Corner Of Your Smile (4:12)
10 In A Green Space (3:46)
11 Ifondu (3:15)
12 Outerlude (0:33)
13 Bright And Shining (3:59)
14 Forest Loop (1:10)
15 Out My Window (4:19)
16 Floating On (3:21)
Koushik Mixoremixes podcast: www.stonesthrow.com/news/show/id/264