Airbird & Napolian began their bi-coastal partnership in 2013 with the Erika Spring-fronted single “In The Zone”. In an interview with the duo the intent was clear early, Napolian was bringing his L.A. vibe through a laid-back, Dre-like sound, while three hours ahead Airbird was utilizing his Brooklyn habitat to invite Cascine recording artist Erika Spring, on the heels of her time in Au Revoir Simone, into the fold. The duo’s debut full length Mr. Foolish has maintained that formula over a quiet two years, as noted in a write-up for the “Only You” single.
With a week to go until the release of Mr. Foolish, the duo curated the “NY NY Mix” to hold us over. Takuya Matsumoto’s “NY NY” is the obvious centerpiece to Airbird & Napolian’s contribution to the Friday Night series, but it cannot be overlooked that the posthumous Dillatronic is at the front of their minds. The 41 track collection of sketches is a divisive offering that some have suggested is a mere cash grab for the Yancey Estate, others noting Dilla’s publishing woes mean this goes to the proper pockets. All agree it’s a legacy situation nearing Tupac levels. Airbird & Napolian incorporate three tracks from the release into the “NY NY Mix”, which they declined to explain, but if anything it should be understood that the selections simply work. Echoes of J Dilla’s influence seem to permeate the stylistic touches of every producer emerging since his passing. In death, he casts a commanding shadow. Airbird & Napolian embed his electro-inclinations into a journey leaning heavily on classic house without disrupt—a testament to Dilla’s craft as a rough draft lives on without the sting of feeling permanently incomplete.
Airbird & Napolian’s Mr. Foolish is out November 13 on Cascine.
“NY NY Mix” tracklisting:
01 Takuya Matsumoto, “Camouflaged Letter”
02 Alan Braxe, “Horizon”
03 D-Ribeiro, “Love Gate” (Original Mix)
04 Takuya Matsumoto, “NY NY”
05 The Neptunes feat. Beanie Man, “Girls Dem Sugar” (Instrumental)
06 J Dilla, “Dillatronic 16”
07 J Dilla, “Dillatronic 27”
08 Tuxedo, “Watch the Dance” (Battlecat Remix Instrumental)
09 Mat Zo, “The Price of Oil”
10 Julio Bashmore, “Father Father” (Instrumental)
11 J Dilla, “Dillatronic 13”