I’d be lying if I said Controller 7 has come a long way since his humble days as a backup club DJ on Spring Breaks in Tampa Bay, bumping Sandstorm for the intoxicated masses. A) Because I made all that shit up, and B) not one shred of production that Controller 7 has put out emulates that bold-faced lie in any way, shape, or form. What Controller 7 has done is put out 4 incredibly consistent and very well-produced albums in the past 18 months that have more going for them than Leonardo Dicaprio, pre and post-Titanic. Last year Controller 7 put out Couch with Mestizo (phenomenal), Billy with Buck 65 (super great), and a more personal production-focused album called Exhale01 (super great as well, plus it had a sick-ass rap song with Hemlock Ernst). I think one more album and they’d call that shit a home run. Well, guess what? Exhale02: Moments has arrived and I do believe home plate has been crossed.
When an album starts off with samples about being yourself, you know you’re in for something deeply personal and I believe that’s what’s been conveyed on Controller 7’s latest effort. Each melody possesses a melancholy bittersweetness that not only gives a glimpse into the emotions being carried across each song but also gives each song a sense of comfort. From the sympathy of the piano notes to the subtleness of others, the album feels cinematic in the way that it’s scored. Exhale02: Moments may not have the water like the fluidity of Couch or the lyrical stylings of Buck 65, but every note seems to be meticulously calculated and laid out like an overfed cat at 3 in the afternoon. It really shows the care that goes into this album and the way it jumps in and out of each song is reminiscent of a perfect puzzle. I place it among the finest of instrumental/experimental Hip-Hop albums to come out in recent years. This album makes me feel like I’m listening to the success of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Plus, there’s a fucking cat solo to boot. From road trip to head-trip, this album is a quadruple win also known as a Home-Run*. You can find a bunch of Controller 7 releases on his Bandcamp.
*edit: I’ve never heard anyone call a Home-Run a quadruple win, please don’t start.
Photo: Karna Kurata