SkySplitterInk - "XIX"


SkySplitterInk has been a serious asset to our scene — and community — for a long time now. He’s a producer, an emcee, a multi-instrumentalist, but even that is just the beginning. He’s a professional recording engineer who paid dues as a sound guy, as many of them do. Behind the console, he’s racked up a massive portfolio of credits — here’s a partial reckoning. He’s also an educator who’s been helping a whole generation of BTV talent hone their chops.

His new album XIX, which dropped yesterday on Equal Eyes Records, is a lean beast. The LP is proof that he’s one of the foremost producers in a talented scene.

The difference isn’t just the musicianship, which is impeccable. What really makes XIX cook is the fact that SkySplitterInk has his own distinct artistic vision: every track here is impressively cohesive, and the tracklist itself is perfection. This is a journey, constructed by a highly experienced engineer. Along the way, he’s jamming with Loupo and tagging in 802 superweapon DJ Kanga in for some damn nice cuts & scratches.

SkySplitterInk’s sound is driven by a refined, almost classical, melodic ear. That gets rounded out by his endless creativity in the rhythm section — you can tell he plays the drums. Not only does everything bump, it shifts around a lot. He’s got that 6th sense for how to keep introducing new ideas without ever interrupting the pulse of his songs. That’s a couple steps beyond just being a solid producer; that’s some Quincy Jones meets Aphex Twin shit.

This is a project that could grow some serious legs, and deserves it, too. These tracks ain’t loops, they’re compositions. There’s a lot of demand for quality instrumental hip hop these days, whether for workouts and study sessions or good old licensing money. (Ads for cars and liquor have to bang out now, it’s Federal law since 2002.) And besides, the closing cut “Tragic Hero” is a movie theme waiting to happen.

Props to SkySplitterInk for an incredibly professional, mature album. He’s really raised the bar with this one.

Justin Boland