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Arrythmia, the second full-lengther from New York City rap poets Anti-Pop Consortium, sees the discipline of hip-hop deconstructed and rebuilt from the bare bones up. Although Warp Records have made inroads into experimental hip-hop before--significantly, on Prefuse 73's excellent glitch-hop statement Vocal Studies And Uprock Narratives--this is the label's first fully-fledged foray into the genre. Where most rappers prize money, women, and the respect of the peers above all, rappers Beans, Sayyid and Priest immerse themselves entirely in the joys of language, spitting staggeringly complex monologues, forever sharpening their vocal edge in a riot of free association poetry. "I move crowds like Larry Levan, very advanced / Invariably man's arrogance will lead to his downfall / I'm now worthy of the grace / My face graces Jupiter's lakes," they stutter on the excellent "Bubblz", as dislocated bongo drums sputter around them. Amazingly, the production is even more eccentric: "Ping Pong" loops the snap of a bouncing ping-pong ball, while the digital static of "Mega" segues an opera singer's heavenly scales into the trumpet of jungle beasts. Arrythmia is occasionally a difficult prospect--sometimes, you're screaming out for a simplistic Puffy brag, or a funky Neptunes hook to push the plug in on this never-ending torrent of ideas. Still, in the spirit of Warp, another mind-bending success. --Louis Pattison
Top Customer Reviews
As for the lyrics, Antipop Consortium steer well clear of the subject matter generally associated with hip hop. They have a reputation for intricate wordplay, and this skill is evident on Arrythmia. In terms of its musicality and rhythm, the rap cannot be faulted. However, on some tracks, the MCs do not seem to maintain the incredibly profound standard they set themselves on Tragic Epilogue, their first LP. Even so, it is considerably better than most rap being released right now, so on balance, I would recommend it as a good buy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
>>Maybe your kids will rock it in 2027<<
The 4 artists working here(three MCees)all produce the beats adding plenty of variation on the styles. There's solo songs, tag teams, group anthems and Moogsynth infected instr-mentals. Their sounds incorporate a number of old school drum machines and analog saws and sweeps, even some samples here and there. But to say they are just talking over the beat shows lack of concentration. They create unpredictable patterns, they make beats out of water droplets, robo-voices, shopping carts slamming into each other, they defy what is expected from the mainstream, and they get an A+ shelving in my Hiphop collection!
---->Listen to the 'Ping Pong(the Return)' sample>
M.Saayid says "My symphonic monopoly philosophy/sloppily etches notes akwardly/a quater to three/brass amp with a gas lamp/white wig slang Wolfgang/English chamber orchestrating a deadly banger/cliffhanger"--->> If that don't Bang your Brain your cord's unplugged.... Or you don't like avant-hop/anti-pop.
Not that 'Ping Pong' is the best track on the album, just the most exemplary of the samples given here. My favorites are 'Dead in Motion','Ghostlawns' and 'Focused'.
On 'The Conspiracy of Myth' I hear a Fellowship/Blowed style funk influence (Aceyalone was a past guest on 'Tragic Epilogue').There may be slight signs of influences ranging from Kool Kieth to The RZA, from Mikah Nine to Nine inch Nails, from Can to Deep Purple, from Brian Eno to Isao Tomita...you get the shot.
Buy 'em while they're not hot(the masses will eventually catch on...I think....) It's good the Warp label picked 'em up, because its already very difficult to get a hold of a few of their earlier releases, like 'Shopping Carts Crashing' (Japan Only CD) still available here on Amazon.Com, for a limited time I'm sure. Get a piece of the future of Hip Hop, before it becomes a classic piece of the past(They'll find this one on Mars, with vocals personally translated by the Consortium themselves).
If that's something you appreciate, pick it up.
I have a soft spot in my heart for them - I loaned the previous album (Tragic Epilogue) to two different people and had to make a point of wanting it back. this one is better.
be careful where you play it though - the day I first got this, I went from the record shop to work and played it there... the poor girl I was scheduled with that day and I got into a most inappropriate fight while people were coming by and getting coffee. the grudge lasted all day. she was really cute, but I thought she was lazy. she thought I was too much of a hard@$$, but she never made... see? it's a loaded album for me. even now.
there are energies in this album, though, because the music wasn't tainted for me even with the drama of that day. it's just that good.
I'd go into a track by track listing, but there's no point. it's an experience. kind of like trying to go into all the reasons you're with the one you're with - no point in breaking it down because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts... but the parts are REALLY good. did I mention they make a beat by bouncing a ping pong ball?
if you put this on between Li'l Jon and Li'l Wayne at a party, God help you.
if you put this on at the wrong time of day, brace yourself.
if you put this on in headphones, you'll have a huge s-eating grin for the duration, but no one will really understand why.
they have a new album out, called Fluorescent Black, but this is the one where things got more interesting. they decided not to make a flow throughout the album and their music was better for it. the only flow is disruption - but what else would you expect of an album called Arrhythmia?
Arrhythmia constantly builds and destroys a sonic and lyrical palette that trains its sight on the future. It avoids the tired and overpopulated territory of 1988 revivalism, where much of underground rap's past promise has gone to seed. The 15 tracks blend the electronic with the organic, and switch genres without regard for convention. Yet they maintain an ethic that doesn't seek to subvert hip-hop, but to exalt and advance the art into another phase. In this respect, Anti-Pop shares in the aspirations of some of rap's more mainstream visionaries, such as Timbaland or Wu-tang's RZA.
But don't get it twisted. No one will ever mistake "We Kill Soap Scum" for your average Wu-banger. Which is perhaps why, at this moment in rap's evolution, the Anti-Pop Consortium succeeds as alt-rap media heroes, while the Wu, once the apex of the hip-hop pyramid, now struggles to remain vital in a world of their own design. Listen to "Human Shield," the last song on Arrhythmia; check the rhymes as they are distorted, stretched and compressed, accelerated and decelerated, throwing the listener off the course of the album's most traditionally hardcore beat. Now, pull out Wu-tang's The W. On "Redbull," RZA intermittently buries his emcees beneath rolling drums, reducing their voices to additional percussive instruments. Sound experimentation is key for both RZA and APC. But these groups exist in different solar systems, and their stars rise and fall not for what they do, but because of location, location, location.
And Anti-Pop, recording on a record label free from the trappings of the rap industry, has located itself perfectly. Arrhythmia is a dense 45-minute slab of convention-be-damned hip-hop. The tracks jump from the electro-funk of "Bubblz" to "Dead in Motion"'s frenetic race to oblivion. From "Ghostlawns'" new-wave bounce to "Open Mausoleum," where synth whines and spare drums peel away to reveal a refrain of Portishead-style atmospherics and minor keys. "Mega" features an opera chorus that is followed by M. Saayid rhyming over the screams of primates. Not quite "Get Ur Freak On," and that's not good or bad. But it certainly isn't reactionary.
The emcee trio of APC, who all contribute to the production as well, show higher reverence to hip-hop in their rhymes, seamlessly interlocking with the beats and each other, and never getting lost inside their own sonic hall of mirrors. Each brings something distinctive to the table: Priest's voice is deep and commanding, Beans' flow floats from relaxed to frenetic and is always smooth, and Saayid's staccato delivery boils over with attitude and confidence. They succeed because they are intelligent and innovative without sounding academic, disturbing the equilibrium without undermining their roots. Rap for a near future, unafraid and unfettered.