Chul’s Hip-Hop Download Pick of the Week: Made In Heights’ “Winter Pigeons”Posted by Chul Gugich
The title of this week’s post is erroneous by way of a not-so slight technicality. The download included here is not really hip-hop. It’s more along the lines of electro-pop with an underlying hip-hop spirit. Sabzi, the producer responsible for the music on Made In Heights’ free EP, Winter Pigeons (get it, here), is better known for his rap successes with Blue Scholars and Common Market, which adds a little more validity to this post. But enough with defending the liberties taken, let’s just move on.
Made In Heights is composed of two members: the aforementioned Sabzi and a mysterious new (at least to the general public) female singer named Kelsey. Winter Pigeons is a four-track soundscape of lush synth and keyboard arrangements paired with aggressive drum and bass. The contrast between the delicate melodies and robust percussion is what primarily catches the ear. Kelsey’s vocals are airy and slight, but what she lacks in power is made up for with a sly intelligence. Her lyrics carry a beautiful and poetic weight that belie her buoyant delivery. Throw in a little hip-hop inflection (“Called you up on the celly just to hold me down”) and you have a dynamic listening experience.
In Made In Heights’ press release, Sabzi called Winter Pigeons a “side project.” Here’s a perfect example of the difference between professional musicians in Seattle (of which Sabzi is certainly one) and budding amateurs (which compose the greater majority). It’s rare you find a “side project” with as many fully fleshed-out ideas and creativity as Winter Pigeons. Dedicated followers of Blue Scholars know that Sabzi is classically trained and his repertoire spans beyond the boom-bap they’ve come to appreciate him for. Made In Heights reveals him to be one of Seattle hip-hop’s only true renaissance men.