Robert Krums makes music under the name Spectacular Diagnostics. Credit: Courtesy of Robert Krums

As Spectacular Diagnostics, Chicago producer Robert Krums specializes in hip-hop tracks that seem to circle the planet in low orbit, collecting cosmic dust that mixes with flecks of grit from our world. On his new album, Natural Mechanics (Group Bracil), he blends samples like he’s devising floral arrangements for a royal wedding—the glassy keyboard melody that strolls through “Molasses” picks up new colors as he throws on sparse, dubby percussion and a brief clip of springy sitar. Krums can create refinement out of filth (and vice versa), and he knows how to make a mean beat for an underground MC to chew on. He recruited a few guests to drop verses on Natural Mechanics, including UK rapper Pertrelli Purple and Chicago MC and producer Jeremiah Jae. But in productions unperturbed by anyone’s voice—except maybe a wisp of a vocal sample—Krums can build a contemplative space defined by the mood of a groove.   v