“Shine On… is true to the Golden Era sound I grew up on, but it’s also vivid, playful, and colorful enough to stand on its own feet as an instrumental body of work.” —Max I Million on his new album
Swedish producer Max I Million is simply on another level in the world of creating lush, jazzy hip-hop instrumentals, and he proves that point over and over again on his latest album, Shine On… From one track to the next, the immensely talented beatsmith finds new ways to dazzle the ears with layers of creatively flipped samples, earworm melodies, and innovatively created sounds from household items.
It’s no surprise, then, that Max receives some love from hip-hop luminaries and heroes like Diamond D, Large Pro, and J Dilla’s mother, Ma Dukes, on the album’s self-titled intro track. More than just a collection of shout outs, the intro sets the tone for Shine On… with its upbeat, driving musicality. “It’s energetic with hard-hitting drums, small explosions and things happening throughout, yet soothing with that super jazzy piano,” Max adds. “It’s minimalistic, yet feels whole.”
You can hear that particular sound—minimalist, yet whole—throughout the record, and it really captures the vibe of what Max created here. Standouts like “24 Carat Gleam,” “Shine Through,” and “Soul Medicine” embody the spirit of what makes his music so immediately compelling. You can listen to these and just chill for hours on end, looping the tracks until you’ve had your moment of zen. Or, better yet, you can dig into the details of the music, like the unreal layering of “On My Mind” or the muddy funk of “Don King.” Who knows, you may even pick up on his left-field music choices, like how he sampled his own pitched-shifted voice and his spontaneously built shaker made from a glass jar and cornflakes.
Those choices, both big and small, exemplify the love that Max put into this record, and they’re why Shine On… is absolutely his finest work yet.
Shine On… is available now on vinyl and through all major DSPs. The record is pressed in an eye catching black, tangerine and silver swirl color configuration on 180g vinyl. The album packaging also features an inner board sleeve with both sides illustrated by MC Blue Matter, with the album cover and layout illustrated by collage artist Jesse Stone.