The Anti-Mobius Strip Theory
label: cp / daybyday
production: cryptic one, blockhead, jestoneart, blueprint
guest: windnbreeze, alaska, aesop rock.
year of release: 2004
1. Intro
2. Anti-Mobius Strip Theory
3. Pulp Non-Fiction (Remix)
4. UniCycle (Water Cycle)
5. Half-Life
6. Tempt Fate feat. Windnbreeze & Alaska of Hangar 18
7. Intricate Schemes
8. BiCycle (Gold Cycle)
9. Apocalypse Zone feat. Aesop Rock
10. Uncomfortable Silence
11. Death Of Regret
12. TriCycle (Lawn Cycle)
13. Time Piece / Peace of Time
14. Rebirth Of Regret
15. Willow
16. Life After
17. Pulp Non-Fiction (Original version)
Is it too much to demand lines like "I'm that form with a kite in a lightning storm / screaming: it's all about the Benjamins, baby"? Even if demanding such will exclude some? Because what if you don't know about Mr. Benjamin Franklin's experimental habits? You're left puzzled and wonder what Puffy might have to do with a kite.
That's why an album like this one here, with the - uhm - cryptic name of "Anti-Mobius Strip Theory" demands time to listen to what the man says and patience to get the meaning. It does not demand your dancing shoes, but an ear for the music, the metaphor and the MC. Who is Cryptic One. Who is strong on using metaphors (not similes) that often involve a liquid element. Just like Plato, everything flows on here.
Yes, the lyrics are really good. Too good to just expose the whole plots, the twist and turns or basic concepts. Heck, the ( ) of the three 'cycles': "UniCycle", "BiCycle" and "TriCycle" already tell too much. All of these 'cycles' are concerned with an 'every things goes in cycles'; "UniCycle" does not feature the best beat, but a rather 'eeh' guitar; "BiCycle" is not as good conceptually as 'uni' and 'tri'; "TriCycle" is again as good as the first one, with the beat featuring a lot of musicality.
Considering the beats, there's more to discuss. Like the few moments where the production leans towards a 'stereotypical' Atoms Family sound. One of those songs is "Time Piece / Peace Of Time" where a good drum reminds us of the fact that there used to be good drums in rap. Cryptic finds poetic relief in a phobia and/or paranoia of time: "new years are born, the days length stays the same / no matter if I used my second hand to punch that clock hard in its face, it will never slow its pace / and I think back to birth and remember my 2nd second on earth / and realized it wasn't different than the first."
The second 'stereotypical' Atoms Fam track appears with "Half-Life", where the beat took note from "The Cold Vein", and interestingly enough, Cryptic upgrades it to an ode, when he goes: "see life's a glass of wine and mine's filled / for real / but wine's ill / sometimes wine might spill." He adds one liners like "ironically most empty minds are quite full: full of shit" and ends the tracks with a woman saying: "I'm tired of all this cryptic bullshit. I'm physically and psychologically exhausted. And I'm ready to kick back and welcome the end of existence. Why me? Of all the people on the God damned planet, why me?". To adapt this to Cryptic: that's his name. He's Cryptic One, a cryptic one. He must live up to typecasting and expectations. Or invite a Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jeckyll. Or a Bobby Digital to his The RZA.
And if we find anything like a Mr. Hyde on this album, then he's on "Uncomfortable Silence". Because this sounds like battling, like punchlines. As much as an almost friendly request for you shutting that trap. Cryptic goes: "my suggestion: don't spit your verses and if you do whisper it quickly / or suffer miserably if I hear even a small squeal / your placing one foot in your grave / the other on a banana peel", while later a "Pulp Fiction" sample is used perfectly.
But this is a rare occasion of 'lighthearted' rhyming. Even though you can argue that on "Tempt Fate" Cryptic and Windnbreeze are mainly saying clever things in neck breaking speed, over a nice Mexican horn. The speed is as fast as it was on the "Intro" where we can barely follow Cryptic spitting "not here to leave the music redefined / just to use it and choose it for peace of mind / you can see it climb. Is it climbing so high to glide, or for suicide? / I'll leave that for you to decide". "Tempt Fate" is also one of the two tracks with guests. The other is "Apocalypse Zone" featuring Aesop Rock, one of the best beats, and Crpytic one summarizing: "perhaps soon buffoons will rediscover the love / but for now sit and worship the grounds that we hover above / see the rhymes walk across hot coals in blissful silence / under the weight the earth shakes they all turn to diamonds / swallow the Atoms Appleseed whole / let it get embedded in your soul / infested poetic epidemic control."
Which is again an example of the elaborate lyricism that at times communicates deep philosophies, like on "Rebirth Of Regret" where Cryptic finds proof in expressions. And some of those are repeats: be it 'apples falling from the tree' or 'shit being like fertilizer' or "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired and weak / before I dream of electric sheep / I cry myself to sleep" as Cryp' says on "Willow" (he also says the first line on "Anti-Mobius Strip Theory"). This track shows a lot of courage for minimalism. Even though one of the most cinematic moments when the orchestra chimes in.
That's why the lyrics fly sky high over the quality of the beats. Heck, Cryptic rhymes ish like: "Atoms family packs language and facts / perhaps traps magical raps to make your plans crack and collapse into nothing / and nothing could be stranger than nothing" ("Pulp Non-Fiction (Remix)"). But this sounds too dismissive of the beats and gives a false impression. As there is the good "Death Of Regret", the interesting "Intricate Schemes", where the cymbals stick to the right and the sad tune of a God's army soldier, be he evil or 'good', who knows that the "early demon gets the soul" when he's chasing after "a somewhat optimistic artist" ("Intricate Schemes").
The best track however is "Life After". Because of the opening philosophy of "the life after / could be parallel / to the life that you are living / and if that's the truth / in this life after / slave remains slave / and the master stays the master". And because of the continuation: "I conquered five of seven seas / chaos, consciousness, calamity, confidence and creativity / and only two more to explore before I return to the shore / I ponder what's in store / I quench my thirst the liquid pours / see with a toast of lactose / I didn't see the rough sea approach / and in a blink the glass that held my drink crashed and broke / but on continues exploration / and hold back tears and drink spilled milk past the date of its expiration."
Heck, this much too long review gives away much too many of the central themes, best lines and concepts. But not all of them though. All of them are written in roughly 9000 words of cryptology, atomic strength and quality rap music.
review: tadah
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