Sunday, August 27, 2017

Loosies Of The Week, Aug. 21-27

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. A wide range of genres this week, with a well-rounded level of quality. There's sure to be something you enjoy. 

King Krule - Czech One

I showed up four years late to the King Krule parade, but, as the saying goes, better late than never. 'Czech One' did too, failing to release until exactly the four-year mark of 6 Feet Beneath The Moon; Krule's first and latest project. Even though this blog was but a fraction of what it is today, the hype of Archy Marshall didn't evade my eyes back then. I had heard of this red-haired serenader who seeped himself in atmosphere from a plethora of genres that intended on doing so, even releasing A New Place 2 Drown, an Abstract Hip-Hop project, under his own name. His expanse seemed to know no bounds, although he failed to capitalize on the attention, leaving 'Czech One' a shell of what it could have been. Fame-wise that is, musically the single's far from disappointing. A slow burner, the captivating conundrum remains genre-less like much of his earlier material. Krule's delivery here leans more towards spoken word than singing, a difficult-to-overcome aspect, especially given his baritone. The production is another story though, multi-layered through a vacuous shield of space, allowing in only the most mystifying of instruments. A saxophone, ghostly background vocals, and mimicking chimes create an aura that bounds 'Czech One' to no single sound.

Wiki - Mayor

A beautiful embodiment of a Hip-Hop scene far removed. Wiki's 'Mayor,' released mere days before No Mountains In Manhattan dropped on the insanely loaded August 25th, takes to the New York City streets for some humble, self-aware bars that reminisces on the early 2000's era of underground Hip-Hop. From the music video, which finds Wiki strutting his charisma inside a 4:3 aspect ratio, to the Soul sample galore found nestled in the production, to Wiki himself, rapping with a refreshing focus on endearing lyrics, 'Mayor' prospers in every right. My expectations for the Ratking rapper, who's typically seen working with the gritty Antwon or the confessional Lil Ugly Mane as Secret Circle, certainly didn't line up with Abstract Hip-Hop's beautiful origins. I see names like Edan, Abstract Rude, or Blackalicious through 'Mayor's' sound, and that's something I haven't heard in a long, long time. Few complaints can be sent this way, as the humble parade guiding Wiki is one that's executed brilliantly, even though the rapper's lyrics sometimes fail to be anything but sugarcoating showboating. 

Clarence Clarity - Naysayer Godslayer

The quirky, non-conformist Clarence Clarity has sort of existed in the Indie meme-sphere without ever rewarding the low-hanging fruit. In a way, he latches to the smattering of information, similar to Neil Cicierega or Dan Deacon, by imploding a plethora of sound to resemble our daily content-overload. Leave Earth, his soon-to-be released LP, promises an equally-clashing collection of genres, but for now, he continues to work in his highly-stylized Glitch Pop. 'Naysayer Godslayer,' while not as forthright as 'Fold Em,' the Rap-based collab with SHADI earlier this year, still honors the offshoot Alternative R&B Clarity worships. It's short, sweet, and enticing, although not remotely over-the-top, at least relatively speaking. The female background vocals, reminiscent of 80's Pop, helps to offset Clarity's vocals which are becoming increasingly one-dimensional. There's an excellent mini-bridge halfway through 'Naysayer Godslayer' though, which strips the Glitch, leaving some transitory peace for the vocals to harmonize over. This eventually leads to the repeated hook, which reveals the track's passivity, despite the savory sugarcoat we receive in the moment.

Open Mike Eagle - Brick Body Complex

Since his rise with Dark Comedy, Open Mike Eagle has been shoehorned by fans and critics alike for his, well, dark comedy. The rapper, in typical Art Rap style, mocks reality as a way to combat change. He parodies, satirizes, and imitates a society with an endless supply of problems. While that seems to be his bread and butter, a look into the deep cuts will discover an emcee with a trove of talents. Hella Personal Film Festival is an excellent example of that, with tracks like 'Smiling' tackling hypocritical racism or 'Dive Bar Support Group' showing the ugly side of alcoholism. If lead singles '95 Radios' and 'Brick Body Complex' are to tell us anything, Open Mike Eagle's September LP may be his most relaxed, conscious, and serious yet. Sound familiar? The comparisons to Milo are apt, as 'Brick Body Complex,' unlike '95 Radios' which is humble and reflective, is aggressive and in-your-face. Here, OME uses an Abstract Hip-Hop beat, with an emphasis on Trap hi-hats, to assure listeners of his being, and the others trapped in the system behind him. It's not as exalted as '95 Radios,' but 'Brick Body Complex' further proves the emcee's diversity.

Emancipator - Ghost Pong

Since Emancipator's inception, with the atmospherically-rich Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, the Downtempo producer known to those closest to him as Doug Appling has struggled with advancing his career. Glorious 2006 efforts like 'Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires' or 'Anthem' failed to reveal just how tapped his potential already was. That's not a good sign when that's just your debut. But year after year, project after project, the setting, as defined by the cover, begin to feel less and less special. 2010's cliffs sounded like the snow-coated woods, 2013's campfire sounded like the snow-coated woods, 2015's seas sounded like the snow-coated woods. Ideas were at a premium as the one-note Emancipator could never diversify his shtick. Sadly enough, 'Ghost Pong' is more of the same. At first, I felt that at least he had the sense to diverge, incorporating some segmented vocals inspired by Moby. But then I realized he did just that over a decade ago, with much more heart and willpower that go-around. 'Ghost Pong' merely concedes to the tranquility he's fostered since then, placing down the pieces and calling it a day. The multi-layered percussion, interspersed strings, and lingering piano all just re-hashed ideas at this point, no matter how beautiful they may be.

Brockhampton - Sweet / Follow

Apparently the only person who can stall Brockhampton's hype train is the group themselves. You see two singles here though, how can that be? Well, if you've followed the group's incendiary rise you'll notice Saturation's four-letter track lengths and Saturation 2's five-letter track lengths, which means that yes, Brockhampton released the lead single to Saturation 3 before Saturation 2 even dropped. This is the streaming age, quantity over quality is all the rage. That's been evident on Brockhampton's previous singles, a stretch that's lasted a month through my loosies, where inconsistency from the group showed itself greatly. 'Swamp' and 'Gummy' were weak, falling into no man's land, hurt by the repetitive format the group enforces. However, 'Junky' proposed a new idea, one more dramatic and free-flowing. With 'Sweet' and 'Follow,' the rules and simple code of conduct are back in order.

Unlike Saturation 2's previous singles, 'Sweet' is more light-hearted and jubilant, using autotune and various foreign instrumentation to convey the romp held within. However, the lyrics are still profusely average, the flows even weaker. There's some eccentric personalities, but they ultimately lead to nothing, seen on 'Follow's' music video where a one-take dance party precisely exhibits Brockhampton's quantity over quality style. Much like the music, the video's are becoming increasingly and lacking in ideas, 'Follow' entirely devoid of such. As per usual, Kevin Abstract leads the group with the others, this time, Ameer Vann, Matt Champion, and Meryln Wood, trailing behind respectively. The rapping skill trails off with it, ending with Meryln's squawking yelps that fail to please the ear or mind in any way. Unfortunately, in today's age, no one can care less about a meaningful project when sheer volume fills the void.

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