Orchestrated Noise – Maestro Fresh Wes

CDB090spread1 [Converted]Donning his original moniker, Canada’s hip-hop flagbearer Maestro Fresh Wes returns to the mic with Orchestrated Noise, his first album in over a decade and a conceptual extension to his 1989 debut album, Symphony in Effect. The Juno Award-winning MC enlists a diverse group of Canadian artists to feature on this orchestrally-influenced project. Standout collaborations include the high-tempo “Dearly Departed” (with Kardinal Offishall), “Desire” (with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of electropop artist Lights), and “I Wanna Know” (with Rich Kidd and The Trews). The album, however, is plagued with production flaws. Many tracks are peppered with clicks and pops from poorly-edited audio and the mixing is inconsistent. Nonetheless, Mr. Wes Williams’ flow and cadences solidify his position as an important fixture in Canada’s hip-hop scene, something he confidently states in track “Gladiator”: “[I’m] the reason why a lot of rappers in Toronto started even rhyming in the first place.”

Rating: ★★★½☆

– Uko Abara