NOW HEAR THIS: Stones Throw's Koushik

Koushik - Out My WindowGo ahead and say it – “who?” Canadian musician Koushik Ghosh is far from a household name, but his place on the perennially respected Stones Throw Records alongside Madlib, MF DOOM and the late, great J Dilla is no mistake. While he’s been kicking around the label for a few years now, Out My Window is actually his first official album, having been building his profile off of several EPs and collaborations. The extra time to perfect his craft has clearly paid off.While Koushik frequently layers distant, ethereal vocals over his tracks, they’re used more as an additional instrument and the beats are the star of the show. Hard breaks and lush samples are blended together into compositions that are laid-back though highly musical. “Be With” (which also appeared on a compilation of the same name) turns stray bits of funk guitar and orchestral strings into lounge-y Trip-Hop, while “Welcome” deconstructs a moody Jazz loop into a syncopated beat suitable for two turntables and a mic. Elsewhere, “Corner Of Your Smile” is much like a modern take on Phil Spector’s classic recordings.Well done though it may be, it wouldn’t be honest to say that this is for everyone – instrumental albums are one of those things you either have the patience for or don’t. If you belong in the first category though, and especially if Dilla, DJ Shadow, 4Hero, Gorillaz or Zero 7 have any place in your collection, Out My Window would be a great addition.