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Low Budget - Buoyant Economy

Author: Matt Unicomb
Monday, 9 March 2009

Melbourne’s underground favourites Low Budget have just dropped their hotly anticipated LP, Laserdisc. 3D’s Matt Unicomb chats to MC Gentleman Gene about good vibes, going against the grain and getting away from the scene.

Every so often in hip hop, exciting artistry emerges; original, professional and polished. Those responsible astound listeners with their wit, charm and intellect, and eventually cross over into radio territory, quickly finding thousands of new casual fans, and reaching more ears than they could have ever predicted. Luckily, Melbourne’s best kept secret, Low Budget have been keeping things original, professional and polished for years, without the crossover recognition their music is, whether one wants it to or not, destined to receive.

Exploding in 2005 with a self-released mixtape in hand, MC Gentleman Gene and producer Debonair P soon followed up in 2006 with their debut LP Magnasound, largely to open arms and critical acclaim. Support slots with People Under the Stairs, Atmosphere and J Live eventuated, and Low Budget’s reputation as one of Victoria’s brightest young acts was confirmed.

Fast forward three years, and the duo are casually riding the steady wave of success resulting from the buzz around their latest effort, Laserdisc. Extensive radio play, international accolades and a frenzied reaction from the public have been bestowed upon their sophomore album since its mid-February unveiling.

Those familiar with the group’s prior work will notice a significant shift in the momentum and pace of their most recent work. The basslines are heaving and the raps potent, combining to put forward a release far more mature than any could’ve expected. “A lot of the stuff on Magnasound sounded great on record, but ended up being music for people to watch and listen to,” rhymesayer Gentleman Gene explains. “It wasn’t enough for people to shake and have a good time. Henry [producer Debonair P] broadened his horizons, and sampled out of genres that he hadn’t before. He loves all that boogie stuff. He’s buying boogie 45s all the time. We’re liking the good vibes. When you have a good sound system for a live show, the basslines are killer.”

Perhaps the pair’s most refreshing attribute is their originality. Clasping onto a sound that, undeniably, most producers in this country would steer clear of is a bold, and adventurous move. Debonair P’s dedication to this originality has resulted in a collection of tracks that scream playability more than most, and, when blessed with Gene’s jovial vocals, put forth an innocence that is rarely present on hip hop of this caliber. Notably, and perhaps contributing to this innocence, Debonair’s production studio does not contain a collection of high-end beat-making equipment, simply a computer, Yamaha sampler and turntable. “Henry has a very basic setup,” Gene reflects enthusiastically.  “He has Pro Tools, but it’s a couple of years old. He keeps it basic and makes sure that he picks great samples. A lot of people ask him if he uses an MPC, and he’s like ‘Nope’, and their like, ‘You have to use an MPC’, and he’s like ‘Why- I use this sampler; it’s fine.’”

This reluctance to conform to the current standards in Australian hip hop is precisely what keeps Low Budget so infectious. “I’m a bit more involved in the local scene than Henry is,” the 26 year-old MC states. “We stay pretty low-key. Just really hang out with mates. We don’t really get our heads out into the scene; we’re not really out there to be seen.

WHO: Low Budget
WHAT: Laserdisc through Shogun
WHEN: Out now
MORE: myspace.com/lowbudgetmusic

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