THE ANGEL with DJ DENISE BENSON at the Orange Room (132 Queen's Quay East), Friday (July 20). $8. 416-869-0045.
Cryptically named L.A. producer the Angel insists that the reason she's only now releasing the first record under her own name isn't a time management thing.
Sure, she's been busy working on collaborations like Jaz Klash, releasing records under the name 60 Channels, producing and remixing cuts for folks like Pharcyde and Mystic and scoring the odd film. None of these, she claims, has held up her new No Gravity disc, though. They nourished it.
"Everything I did in the past really fed into this record," the Angel offers. "This record is, in a way, a kind of history of everything I've done. I've spent years honing my skills, but I've also kept trying to push out and experiment beyond what people might associate the Angel name with, which was hiphop and urban-affiliated music.
"I feel like I'm starting fresh again. From here on in, who knows?"
In the wake of excursions into drum 'n' bass and downtempo funk, No Gravity is definitely a reflection of the hiphop side of the Angel's production. Featuring guest rhymes from Asian Dub Foundation MC Navigator, the Pharcyde's Tre Hardson, Divine Styler and Mystic, the eclectic album approaches hiphop from different and unusual angles.
Considering that the disc was assembled from various tracks recorded at different times, it hangs together surprisingly well. But the idea that there's a specific Angel sound that holds everything in place doesn't go down well with the producer.
"People have always failed in trying to pin me down," Angel counters. "They often say my stuff is really spacey and trippy and assume I'm the biggest drug taker. It couldn't be further from the truth. I don't even drink.
"I don't feel like I need to say what it is the Angel does. The whole thing about being a creative person should have a bit of mystery to it. If I could pin myself down, I'd be working by numbers making cookie-cutter top 40 hits, and that's not my vibe. If that makes my music more difficult for people to digest, so be it."