Even in the mp3 era, an album as a unit of musical greatness will always be treasured in the crates of hip-hop fanatics. In that spirit, the Paris-based duo Union–comprising OJ and Gold–formulate one big jam for boomboxes: Analogtronics.
In the process, a subgenre of hip-hop is born, composed of unruly soul and electronic resonance. The soulful reverberation created by Union almost seems to demand the likes of Q-Tip, Black Milk, Black Thought or D’Angelo to rhyme, flow, or sing on their production, cementing their legacy. However, for the duo to achieve success and longevity comparable to those artists, they have to solidify a much deeper discography. Consider Analogtronics the prelude to a come-up. Most tracks are worth listening, with hardly any discrepancies or lightweight fillers. “Mystery Part 1” seems Grade ‘A’, but the “Mystery Part 2” sequel is lacking. “Space B-Boy” and “Sky Dust” leave little to the imagination. Nevertheless, the rest of the tracks served as bangers that far outweigh these three.
The most significant tracks with impact include the soul-driven Moka Only feature “Good Morning,” a single that feels like divine bliss. “Wings” featuring Elzhi of Slum Village and “Fallin’”–penned by Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother–both become in sync with the soul. The galactic “Preset Mars” (Roc Marciano); “Coco Mango” (MF Doom) and “Time Leak” (Talib Kweli & Sly Johnson) unfold like the dreamscape to a rapper’s colorful hallucinations.
It’s not too much to invoke the names of J Dilla, 88 Keys and 9th Wonder to describe the power of Union’s sound. Analogtronics truly cements the experimentalist duo’s place as the Homeboys In Outer Space
– Hector De La Rosa