Our Take • Radius & Lanzo: Chicago Cosmos
Yes, it's only right that I properly review and document a Chicago instrumental album that was released through an independent record label based out of Brussels, Belgium. Whoa. Split down the middle (time wise, not track number wise), Chicago producers Radius (originally from the south side) and Lanzo (originally from the west side) went back and forth as a means to properly display their talents behind the boards.
I might be asleep (I usually am), but producer Radius was not previously on my radar before hearing this album. Lanzo I found out about through rapper Defcee, as both are part of the collective Natural Selection. Thankfully, I'm now put on to Radius, as this instrumental album is an experience where both producers shine. The first 13 tracks come courtesy of Radius while the remaining 19 pieces are from Lanzo. Each producer clocks in at about 30 minutes to truly hone in on their skills. The instrumentals are sample-driven, inspired by freestyles and boom bap, lofi abstractions born in the Windy City. This makes more sense when it becomes known that the project is only available on cassette, with each producer taking up one side of the tape.
For Radius, his sound is a bit more rugged. MF Doom might hop on' “Punching Bag”, Big KRIT might rhyme over the haunted house synths of “Southern Grits”, while instrumental “One for MARCI to ROC” is dedicated to Roc Marciano. Meanwhile, Lanzo's instrumentals are a bit less aggressive, a bit more harmonious. Blu instead of Wu-Tang, Talib instead of Ka, if that makes any sense at all. Instrumentals like “The Wind” and “Angel Aura” will have you floating in a sea of bliss.
The two Chicago producers contrast each other nicely here, showing off their beatmaking talents and taking to the cosmos one instrumental at a time. I wish more producers crafted projects like this.