I listen to so much music that I’ve developed
some pretty odd habits about acquiring
new music. I have files in my iTunes of
“to listen to” music that I come across
but am not ready to give my full attention to
yet. Late last year, someone (sorry, I can’t
remember who it was, so if it was you, please
let me know so I can give credit where credit
is due!) pointed me to a series of
instrumental hip hop mix tapes being made
available for free by some guy named Sabzi.
I love instrumental hip hop so I downloaded
the beat tapes but never got around to
listening until earlier this week. I’ve since
come to find out that “Sabzi” is actually
Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi, producer/DJ of
Seattle/New York acts Blue Scholars, Common Market, and Made In Heights. In other words, he’s pretty
prolific, and in the world of Seattle (and beyond) underground hip hop, he’s pretty important. But I didn’t know any of
this when I finally got around to filtering through my “to listen to” folder the other day and remembered hey, don’t I
have some instrumental hip hop in there? That’s sounds good for studying and writing today. I listened.
And then. Wow. I haven’t been this immediately impressed with something in a very long time. Imagine Postal
Service remixed by DJ Food and you might come close. There’s beats but there’s also song structure and pure
pop sensibilities. Basically, Sabzi has released every beat he’s ever done, which appeared on many albums by
several artists, as purely instrumental tracks, calling the series the Townfolk Instrumental Chronicles and I am
in love (in fact, I have since sought out some of the hip hop albums these instrumental tracks were the foundation
for and I like the instrumentals better but that may just be me).
These beat tapes are no longer free, but, as Sabzi explains on his website for the mixes, it’s because
he gave away so many copies that Bandcamp automatically assigned a price to the albums. So now they’re
$5.00 a piece and I still think they’re worth it, even though that’s easy for me to say because I got them while they were still free. If anything, you might want to keep an eye out to see if there will be any more freebies from Sabzi.
In the meantime, here is a video of Sabzi explaining the premise:
And here is a trailer video for the series
And here’s a bit just for fun:
- Visit Sabzi’s Bandcamp page for the Townfolk Instrumental Chronicles