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Express Rising

Express Rising

The last we heard from mysterious down-tempo instrumental hip-hop producer and obsessive crate-digger Dante Carfagna — aka Express Rising — was roughly a decade ago, when, after a few small-batch 7-inch releases, Memphix Records released his debut self-titled full-length. Built primarily on pieces of obscure soul and R&B records, the record vanished as quickly as it appeared and almost immediately became a cult object sought after by record-obsessed music mavens. Carfagna’s new Express Rising album, also self-titled, sheds much of the hip-hop and soul influence, as well as the dust pops, of its predecessor, moving in a far more conventionally electronic direction. But while his previous effort was marked by depth and maturity, the new album, built on a foundation of MIDI strings, live electric guitar and tinny FL Studio-quality sampled percussion, feels flimsy and outdated.