Places & Spaces are a self-described "Hip-Hop Rap Boom-Bap Golden Age" production duo hailing from Switzerland consisting of old friends Naturetone and Zooki. "For the past 20-some years, Naturetone & Zooki went places, different places. In the early 1990's they made beats together and pioneered Swiss Hip-Hop as part of the group Three Tree Posse [AKA 3TP]," reads Places & Spaces' Bandcamp description. Places & Spaces' first song, also titled "Alive," initially appeared on now-defunct label, World Around Records' final compilation, We Are World Around Vol. 6. I actually had the opportunity to speak with Patric (Naturetone) as part of my label-encompassing We Are World Around Vol. 6 double-header piece earlier this year. Naturetone & Zooki first worked together as 3TP between 1993-95 and met back up again in 2016 at "some beat-making sessions run by a mutual friend for another project" and they decided then, to reconvene and record music together for the first time in 20 years, as Places & Spaces— in fact, named after Donald Byrd's critically-acclaimed 1975 Blue Note album, Places and Spaces. At the time of The Witzard's We Are World Around Vol. 6-centric piece, Patric told me he and Zooki "already [had] about 30 beats ready," which they "planned to release in the coming months;" information concerning their proper ALIVE follow-up should come around the first of November.
Now, it's been nearly eight months since World Around Records folded and Places & Spaces made their soft debut with "Alive" and we have their slightly scaled-back full-length, ALIVE, self-released last Saturday, October 14th. ALIVE is a refreshing 22-track slab of Instrumental Hip-Hop, reminiscent of Jaylib's coveted 2003 album Champion Sound, Clams Casino's Instrumentals I-IV comps. The Dust Brothers' multi-layered production work on Paul's Boutique, DOOM's Madlib-produced MADVILLAINY, and College Dropout-era Kanye. Places & Spaces have effectively inter-woven a handful of recognizable vocal samples from some of music's finest including Mos Def AKA Yasiin Bey, Kanye, Beastie Boys, James Brown, Nas, Biggie, Diana Ross, Les McCann, Sun Ra, Richard Pryor, Rakim, Digable Planets, and a few others. Naturetone additionally told me, via email: "we have also used some voices from the Wattstax: [Highlights from The] Soundtrack. You know, I am a big fan of The Bomb Squad and Wattstax was used heavily on Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation [of Millions to Hold Us Back] album. Just love this one!" Naturetone & Zooki's soaring reunion/debut as Places & Spaces, ALIVE, is currently available for streaming and download on a Name-Your-Price basis from their newly-launched Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. If you dig what you hear, throw them a couple "bones" and feel free to Follow Places & Spaces on Twitter (@plcsnspcs,) Instagram (placesandspacesmusic,) and Facebook (@placesandspacesmusic.)