Fear Of A Black Tangent
label: big dada

production: daedelus, dangermouse, thavius beck, omid, paris zax.

guests: abstract rude, ellay khule, mikah 9, 2mex.
year of release: 2005
Yawning Zetigeist intro (freestyle)
Reheated Pop
Unemployed Black Astronaut
Happiness (‘s Unit Of Measurement)
Map Your Psyche
Cool Band Buzz
Note Boom
Low Flying Winged Books
Befriend the Friendless Friendster
Sphinx’s Coonery
Lefty’s Lament
  Unemployed Black Astronaut
For all those listeners that felt a little left out by "Cosmic Cleavage" the best news about "Fear Of A Black Tangent" is that it's much more along the lines of the beloved "Temporary Forever." Not the least because he reassigned Paris Zax. On top of that, Daedelus sticks around for a couple, Omid and Dangermouse say hi for one each, and Thavius Beck adds two songs too. So the music still is but much less cosmic and eclectic.
So Busdriver could dumb down his lyrics and aim for the position of a "pop sensation" and start to hire stylists and get on any MTV stage anywhere. That whole matter is somewhat discussed on the Omid produced "Reheated Pop". Somewhat because you can never really be a 100% certain with Busdriver, right? Right. You do get a good idea of what the guy is talking about, but at the same time, he's just a smart feller, prone to spit smart rhymes. Often in the form of inside jokes or concepts you might wonder and ponder on for more than a minute. Like what does he mean with "I am the first black astronaut who walked the bare moon from an air balloon" on "Unemployed Black Astronaut"? I mean, literally. Actually this is again another little observation on the whole brand and profession that Bus' has chosen for himself. Somewhat.
Because "rappers say the darndest things that you ever hear," so Bus' notes on the Paris Zax produced "Avantcore." The song is one of those overtly playful beats with more thoughts on this whole rap thing. So in many ways much of the rhetoric on this album is an elaboration of Busdriver's t-shirt, which says that "sorry, underground hip hop happened ten years ago." And here he kinda explains why he's talking in past tense.
So thematically the record does leave some openings to really get into what is being said. Only to then slam "Wormholes" in front of you. Or one of the best songs "Low Flying Winged Books," which combines a low humming sound, remote drums and little else for Busdriver to speak over it. It's a little more artsy than the rest, much more spoken word, but argues in favor of a special magic between Thavius and Bus.
Another notable notable is Bus often tamed down flow. While the Thavius produced "Happiness('s Unit Of Measurement)" features a hint of double timing, even this is with the foot on the brakes. More bouncier is "Map Your Psyche" featuring Abstract Rude and Ellay Khule aka Rifleman. This team up of three strong westcoast emcees is paired with "Sphinx's Coonery" featuring Mikah 9 and 2mex. The pessimist, pondering and poetic rhetoric is backed by a whining guitar. Hence Busdriver only really steps on the gas on "Befriend The Friendless Friendster", as he rhymes over a beat that screams Daedelus, is fast, and Bus finally adopts his flow and delivery to the melody - something he was so good at doing on that other album. Much smoother, but not less good is "Lefty's Lament", which is the last track before some hidden extras - we shall let you discover yourself - appear.
Despite the several producers, Bus' shows a really good ear for a distinctive vibe, fitting Dangermouse's "Cool Band Buzz" well next to a Paris Zax' "Note Boom" - which features more thoughts on rap over a low bass and few more samples. And so just like on "Temporary Forever" the album is a roller coaster ride with twists and turns. But it's still one cohesive course and not several short different rides, where you have to get from one building to the next. Busdriver is still too complex, nifty and stylish to appeal to the TV dinner audience. And the fan will actually hope that this is as tame as Bus will ever get, nevertheless enjoying this leashed version of a usually unruly beast.
review: tadah
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