Don’t Sleep | K-Murdock – Beats by K, Vol. 1: Panacean Music

Don’t sleep on this instrumental album from K-Murdock. It’s the first album that he dropped this year, but, as of October 24th, he’s released 7 installments in this series. This one was released on July 31st this year. Before I checked this project out, the only time I’d ever heard any production from K-Murdock was when he was in Bits & Rhymes with Mega Ran. I loved most of what I heard from him, so I figured I would check his Bandcamp page to see if he released any solo material, and obviously I was pleased to see that he had. He’s also in a group with Damu the Fudgemunk & Raw Poetic called Panacea, but I haven’t checked any of that stuff out yet. Anyway, I ended up thinking this project was pretty great. They aren’t all original beats; as the title implies, a lot of them are instrumentals from unreleased Panacea songs.

Anyway, I like every single song on the project, so I’ll just talk about it in the proper order of the tracklist. It starts with Assembled, which is actually probably my least favorite track on the project. It’s an unreleased instrumental from 2014 that was originally made for Panacea. The chill production is pretty cool, especially at the very beginning of the song. However, it gets a little old after a while since the track is so long. It really doesn’t need to be over 4 minutes long. It’s still good though. Just not as great as some of the other beats. The following track, On & On, is one of my favorite songs on the album. The instrumental was originally used for a song by The ParanormL called Hip Hop Goes, which was released in 2013. The chill, piano-driven production sounds gorgeous. This track features some additional instrumentation from a bassist named Prashant Vallury, and his contribution sounds fantastic to me. The bells that eventually come in sound great, and same goes for the horns. My only issue with this track is the length. Once again, this song really doesn’t need to be over 4 minutes long. However, it’s such a good beat that I almost don’t even care. It’s dope af. The next song, Day by Day, isn’t quite as fantastic to me personally, but I still think it’s pretty great. This one is a beat from a remix that K-Murdock made of a song from Raw Poetic & Damu the Fudgemunk’s Kilawatt EP, which dropped in 2009. The arpeggiators in the intro sound a little flat to me honestly, but once the beat actually drops this shit is fire. I’m pretty sure he incorporated the sound of a rooster at one point in the song, which is really fucking cool to me. I’m not really crazy about the instrumental variation that comes in during what I assume was supposed to be the hook, but the beat itself is still great overall. It’s a dope track. It’s followed by my favorite song on the album, Midnight Morning Africa. This is an unreleased instrumental that was produced for Panacea in 2014. It’s amazing. The super chill, jazzy beat sounds phenomenal; the percussion on this track is absolutely stellar, especially around the 1 minute mark. It sounds like an upright bass is being played throughout this track too. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not great at identifying instruments, so I may be wrong about that. The beat is awesome though. The following track is called The Missing, and it’s another standout song for me. It’s another super chill lo-fi beat. It was originally used in 2008 for a remix of a song by an artist named Alona, who I’m not familiar with. The acoustic guitar element that eventually comes in is really dope, but it heavily changes the tone of the track—not necessarily in a bad way though. The song just goes in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. The beat switch during the outro is unexpected too, but it’s very nice. This is the last real standout track for me, but I like the final two songs a lot too. The Prelude is an instrumental from a compilation album that was released in 2015 called #Net-Works. The chill, yet emotional sounding production sounded awesome to me at first, but some elements of the instrumental kinda work against it in my opinion. I think the emotional atmosphere of the beat could’ve been preserved with a slower tempo for the percussion, and the arpeggiators that eventually come in during the second third of the song sound a bit discordant to me. I still really like the song overall though. I think it’s dope. The following track, Gilled, is another unreleased beat that was produced for Panacea in 2014. Much like with the preceding track, the percussion is far more uptempo than I was expecting. It still sounds good though. I’m not exactly sure what that instrument is that comes in around the 45 second mark, but it sounds really strange—and slightly discordant—to me. It sounds like a muffled, yet reverberant violin. That’s probably not what it is at all. Anyway, aside from that one element of the instrumental, I think the beat sounds great, especially when it switches up a few seconds into the final third of the song. This part actually kinda reminds me of an old school El-P beat because there’s so much going on. It’s like he laid three separate instrumentals with varying tempos on top of each other, yet it somehow works. It’s weird as hell. I like it a lot though. 🙂

Overall, I think this album is pretty great. It was nice to hear some more production from K-Murdock because I’ve only ever heard his work with Mega Ran. I’ll have to look into that Panacea catalogue because this shit really impressed me. If you’re into chill, relaxing, melodic, somewhat lo-fi production, you’ll probably really dig this. There’s not a single track that I didn’t like, and there are a few that I really loved. This shit is dope. Check it out.

Favorite Song: Midnight Morning Africa
Least Favorite Song: Assembled


Grade: B+

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