Just a few months out from the release of Natural Mechanics, Chicago producer Spectacular Diagnostics returns with his second solo album of 2021 titled Ancient Methods. Spectacular Diagnostics is a master of his craft who’s been doing his thing for a minute, producing multiple solo albums and working alongside some of rap’s finest MCs, such as Quelle Chris, Jeremiah Jae and Westside Gunn, to name a few. Along the way he’s stayed true to a sample-based style that feels both retro and forward-looking.
Ancient Methods continues in a similar vein – sci-fi boom bap beats for apocalyptic times, fueled by dusty loops and drums that are hard as fuck. While the album is first and foremost all about banging beats, Ancient Methods also delves into themes ranging from earth’s impending collapse to the war on drugs via dialogue interludes that help guide and connect the various sonic pieces. In less capable hands, such heavy themes might weigh things down, but here they only serve as components of Spectacular Diagnostics’ playful crate digging universe. Throw in some stellar guest spots from Armand Hammer’s Billy Woods and Elucid, appearing on separate tracks with their signature enigmatic flows and dense lyrics, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a really fun, very replayable album.