The most bewitching hip hop record I heard in 2007, actually released in 2004, was !Comoc!, by CO out of Poland, not exactly a hot bed of beats, rhymes and life (as far as I know, hopefully I’m wrong about that). CO is the brainchild of Maciek Kujawski who delivers a rich off-kilter version of backpacker-ish beats and breaks. Ten years ago I worked at an online record store that specialized in hip hop 12”’s, and when stuff like this came through the shop, one of my more traditionalist coworkers would sneer, “There’s no such thing as instrumental hip hop!” And while I respect his opinion, I’ve always been enthralled by the darker and more textural vibes that emerge untethered to a provocative vocal track. Think the RZA’s soundtrack to Ghost Dog or the minor key beats of Mo’Wax's “Excursions” series (or DJ Shadow’s Depeche Mode remix, for that matter). But CO goes a bit further out into the weird, which starts to make sense when you realize it comes courtesy of the Mik Musik label.
Hey, wait a minute, you say, isn’t Mik Musik chief sponsor of unclassifiable weirdos Molr Drammaz? Indeed. Mik Musik is the label run by Wojciech Kucharczyk, main component of a slew of strange and kitchen-sink-incorporating groups including Molr Drammaz, Pathman, Go Underground to See More Animals and Gameboyzz Orchestra (all previously and lovingly documented by Mutant Sounds), as well as retro*sex*galaxy, The Complainer and the Complainers, HWDJazz, TerriTerrorTorium, and probably more. Mik Musik’s spastic design aesthetic and musical FU curiously reminds me of Paper Rad or Not Not Fun or 2/5 BZ out of Istanbul, though admittedly those comparisons don’t hold up to much scrutiny. The Pathman record is a particular favorite but it’s tough to go wrong with anything Mr. Kucharczyk puts his stamp on, so explore away. Here’s a track from !Comoc!: Corason. Also, head over to Mik Musik’s comprehensive site for a bunch of free downloads including CO’s 2007 album called King’s Meal (complete with crucial pancake cover art!), as well as the VOCVOCVOC EP.