ASM take on 2019 with a point to prove. Their first release on Chinese Man Records, and fourth full-length album of their careers, “Col­or Wheel” marks a new dir­ec­tion for the inter­na­tion­al pur­vey­ors of soph­ist­ic­ated, ultra-lyr­ic­al boom-bap fusion. Whilst rooted in the same organ­ic old school sens­it­iv­ity that has defined their careers, “Col­or Wheel” sees ASM engage head-on with con­tem­por­ary rhythmic tex­tures like they mean busi­ness – that they are undeni­able mas­ters of their craft in their most effi­cient, to-the point assort­ment of bass-heavy rap cuts to date — undeni­able bangers in all col­ours and hues.

“Col­or Wheel” sees ASM take a step away from the nar­rat­ive tilt and soul­ful orches­tra­tion of their epic cine­mat­ic odys­sey “The Jade Amu­let”, and back to the essen­tial – neck-snap­ping beats and spec­tac­u­lar lyr­ic­al agil­ity. The album is held togeth­er by the concept of music­al col­our, with each track being anchored by and bear­ing the name of a dis­tinct­ive hue on the spec­trum with song titles such as “Azure”“Bur­gundy”, and “Apricot”. The col­ors coher­ently guide the aes­thet­ic and lyr­ic­al dir­ec­tion of each track. Bey­ond that, MC’s FP and Green and beat­maker Fade are tak­ing full liberty to unleash in each chosen dir­ec­tion.

The sound­scapes and rhythms are clearly con­tem­por­ary, but always informed by the son­ic tex­ture and rich music­al cul­ture that has guided ASM through their expans­ive career – driv­ing boom-bap, raw funk, and smokey jazz. On Col­or Wheel, these guid­ing threads are stripped down to their bare essence and rein­ter­preted through a present-day lens. Exper­i­ence tells, most clearly in tracks like the fero­ciously min­im­al­ist open­er “Grape” fea­tur­ing dance­hall legend Cutty Ranks, or the speak­er-shred­ding “Honey” fea­tur­ing long-time col­lab­or­at­ors and newly found label-mates Chinese Man.

The essence of the album can be summed up from the line in the inter­na­tion­al rap-legend laced posse-cut Emer­ald: “Beneath the rust coat, reveal the faded col­or-com­bin­a­tion, now for res­tor­a­tion!”

Col­or Wheel is out now–

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.