Anti-Pop Consortium are most certainly not your average Rap Collective. Seemingly having a overriding desire to sidestep Rap cliches & desperately avoid being pigeonholed with the rest of the Hip-Hop fraternity, its a nervous balancing of bridging the gap between cutting edge New York hip-hop, and glitchy IDM, coupled with Avant-garde beats/Sounds. The group consist of rappers, Priest, Beans, and M. Sayyid, with producer E. Blaize, handling the substantially angular rhythms.
This is their 2001 EP, which at only 17mins, isn't a whole lot of material to digest, but given that this EP, shows literally more than twice the inventive ideas (& lyrics) than some full length LP's, it's fusing of 'Company Flow' Styled erratic beats, with the Electronica noises of 'Aphex Twin / Squarepusher' & a Glitchy smattering of effects, not too dissimilar to 'Boards of Canada' & 'Autechre', those that tire of listening to Hip-Hop that feels like a series of endless chest beating, with booming bass, would do well to give this extraordinary EP, more than a quick glance.
Anti-Pop, seem to pay as much consideration to the production of their material, as they do to the rapid fire delivery of their compact and combust lyrics. EP opener "Tuff Gong" manages to work a heavily sampled Fog Horn (???), into the fray with edgy almost stuttering beats working against each other, before quickly turning course and thereby switching into computer Data Processing effects. The rappers think nothing of then rhyming on top of all these confrontational sounds, and it certainly catches your attention. "Splinter" arguments slow tempo drum kicks with a very fractured computer bleep effect, thereby a intermittent Casio Keyboard melody sits on top, with Beans, Priest & M. Sayyid, darting vocally in-amongst the relative chaos, this track is one of the perfect examples of the group penchant for Electronic sounds, and Underground Hip-Hop, because its a bizarre welding of volatile rhythms, brought together by visionary ideas.
"Dystopian Disco Force" is an instrumental track that, uses a looping droning Hammond organ arrangement, playing out a abstract angular rhythm, against which the organ drones over. Think more electro-clash than hip-Hop, and that's not before a distorted funk guitar moves over the sound. Its a particularly inventive idea, from a production standpoint and shows how the group's musical ideas, manifest themselves into a genuine expression, with the limitless possibilities within Hip-Hop / Electronica styled composition. "39303" pushes the boat out with rapid fire breakbeats right from the off, before stabs of synth pertrude....remarkably the whole thing beings to gather pace, speeding up to frantic 'Squarepusher/Aphex Twin' styled Drill 'n' Bass, before dropping down in tempo, to a slow heartbeat sounding bass kick over which a Thumping occasional effect, against which the 3 MC's deliver complex wordplay, which given the complexity of the sound, requires multiple listens, but as with every track on this album, is always imaginatively obtuse.
"Pit" with its piercing synth melody drone, takes a little getting used to at first, but the matrix-styled Data stream effects, push this track into 'Company flow /El-P' flavoured dystopian production often employing weird dramatic noises and futuristic synths that clash with the defiantly low-budget production values, its avant-garge Hip-Hop by way of cutting edge-beats and like much of the album demands concentration, to adjust to the unconventional structure of tracks, And remarkably this track is just an instrumental. "Perpendicular" employs off-key beats to get the ball rolling, with a lovely jazz-inflected piano arrangement sitting over the top, before a kick drum combines to shape the track into something a little more conventional (although no less impressive) and bearing in mind that this is another instrumental, it hard to ignore the fact that they may well be forcing people to acknowledge a level of avant-garde experimentalism that is still a niche market genre, and forgets commercial considerations, in favour of pushing the musical boundaries, and striving to be unique. The final track on the EP "Vector" finds the band in rude health, with buzzing distortion starting with insistent beats, thereby which the MC's remain in their element, as their lyrical technique is complex, to the point that it's sometimes nearly impenetrable, confusing the listener with dense passages of sentences & ambiguous statement, that'll take a few listens to decipher. High pitched twittering effects barge their way into the mix, bending & Warping in a slightly disconcerting fashion, with a superbly incorporated mechanical distortion, layered in-between.
And so there you have it, an EP that runs at only a mere 17 minutes, which would probably be enough for most people to give it a miss, but to do so, if you're willing to put in the investment would be foolish, as Anti-Pop make no concessions for those that aren't prepared to put some investment into their albums. Sounds shift, beats remain defiantly angular/glitchy showing as much in common with the IDM (intelligent Dance Music) scenes warped and fractured sounds as it does Hip-Hop. Rhymes are dense rapidly delivered vocal sketches, which are intentionally obtuse, abrasive and confrontational, and yet reward those that are prepared to concentrate, on what's being said. Those that are familiar with the 'Underground / Leftfield' Hip-Hop scene will find much to enjoy here, because allthough not completely steeped in Hip-Hop, its electronic aspirations will just as likely appeal to those that don't usually like traditional Hip-Hop. As a overview of what the group are completely capable of, it's a little too short at 17 Min's, but gives a fantastic insight as to what later albums would include (Wait until you hear "Ping Pong" from the "Arrhythmia" album). But this fantastic EP is easily the best (& cheapest) way to begin to get yourself fully acquainted with this cutting-edge group.