|3. Haunt Me
|4. The Home Of The
|5. Live A Lie
|9. No Defenses
|10. Beyond Addiction
|12. Master Peace
There's still no verdict
in the case of hip hop vs. live instrumentation. And
there's a new witness for the defense on the stand.
And the trial is delayed, because the clerk of the court
was needed in another case. After the witness hissed
an unnecessary diss in the direction of the clerk, things
began, and The Unseen started to first answer the questions
of the defense, to later be under the inquiry of hip
Okay, again a fairy
tale, but it does kind of fit the not outspoken debate
about the position of live instrumentation in hip hop.
Sure, The Roots, Infectious Organisms, and others showed
that it can be dope. But for every Roots, there's a
whole armada of people that maybe know their instruments,
but don't know how to get the thumps the boom baps out
of 'em, and make something worthwhile. The Unseen, 3/5
Human (guitar), Akiba (keys) and Aton (raps / keys)
are also doing their brand with instrumentation, but
unlike too many others, and to a better result, they
don't try to recreate samples, but they play musical
structures. Meaning that their offering is not limited
and restrained to being beats, but being, well, music.
You have to realize
that you are into something different with the self
drawn cover, showing a lynched Black man, in front of
the American flag. And the opening "Slithering"
combines eerie keyboard chords with a voice sample.
But even more remarkable is "Twilight",
a jazzy piano solo of two minutes and some change, showing
that these kids got skills behind the keys, but also
further preparing us for an unlikely hip hop experience.
Finally, on "Haunt Me",
Aton (fka Akhenaten) steps to the mic, and he will hit
you with a wall of expressed agony, speaking about the
real time frustrations, asking the world, if it can
be his fault, if the corrupts of the world are just
too much for one man to carry. In the same way other
artists and poets were facing their anger and let them
explode through musical or written outbursts, so are
The Unseen taking us through "The
Home Of The Homeless", a track being held
back with the musical possibilities, but the words are
making this a marching tank.
With a classical piano
opening "Live A Lie"
has us open again, as is the piano what makes us oversee
the more and more appealing drum. Things turn quite
chaotic through the course of the song, that is well
fitting for an experimental audience. "Pergatory"
is the first cut that works without flaw. Nothing to
adopt to first, nothing that hits us and confuses us.
The piano, the bass, the sparkling appearing halfway
through and Aton's voice got the right chemistry. Aton
does not rap though, he talks. The poet locked within
him is taking over and lacing us with words, that'd
rather be written down, than being shot into our ears.
"Furniture" is beat
wise highly abstract, that makes it highly unusual,
but also highly dope. This recorded with better equipment,
the right mastering, a clear recording, people would
give this a whole lot of attention. Aton is still haunted
by nightmares, walking through his lyrical house, like
a nursery home, still being the home for all souls that
ever died within these walls.
Moving on to another
downplayed track called "Possibility",
where Aton talks about some of the ridiculous civilization
achievements, like finding medicine for all kinds of
personal troubles, but not finding drugs to cure the
real illnesses. Like the rest of the album, the mixing
and probable lack of mastering is keeping the drum too
loud and the elements too little embedded within each
other. And on "No Defenses",
the space web layers hovering in the back, would have
worked well in the foreground. Also the bass could have
been utilized more. Once again Aton is taking us through
his book of despair, hating that he has to despise his
country, while he actually loves it, and similar discrepancies.
is building slowly, that takes us into the head, the
blood cells, the synapses of someone being entrapped
within the always returning urges, needs and musts.
The record then returns
to where it started and takes us into areas of the dungeon,
we will never find our way out again, without help.
"Master Peace" is
like a migraine, pushing you to throw up, spitting blood
and chasing your own shadow. It's a sound somewhere,
or next room, you know that shouldn't be there, that
you can't explain. It's the moment you reach for your
pillow to cover your ears, the moment, you reach for
something solid, in case something bloodthirsty is sneaking
up onto you. This is you putting down the ballot, knowing
the person that will count it, will not agree with your
vote. And next is "Dusk",
a epic travel through 12 minutes of your life, but also
through the life of The Unseen, and through the guitar
(or is this an extremely altered keyboard key?) of 3/5
Human, and a return to what the still aware are so good
at: creating emotions with patient instrumentation.
Putting small key branches into the fire, it slowly
gaining in size and heat. And yes, this will be a hassle
to go through to all the ignorant consumers, that don't
know a musical artful offering, when it's tattooed on
their eyes. But "Dusk"
might express what the nightmare truly is better than
words, that are always loaded with your own personal
meaning and interpretation.
We've now reached the
end of the credited tracks, but this records is not
yet ready to fade out. It actually puts sequels to all
those gut wrenching nightmares you have gone through,
with especially a track like "#16"
being a butchers knife eating out your stomach."#17"
is not remotely more quiet, it jumping in your face
in an 'aargh' mode. "#18"
explores a more funky region, "#19"
almost caters to the Latin craze of today, with it's
percussion's, and "#20"
acts as the reverse remix.
Okay, this is not for
all people. Straight up. Then again, it is for all people.
It will not solve the case of hip hop vs. live instrumentation,
as it's 'abstract minimalism', is stretching the boundaries
of what is considered rap / hip hop. The courage is
remarkable and deserves a nod. The lyrics are refusing
to babble, as they are taking reality angst and makes
them hearable for your ears. The sound structures are
complex buildings that sometimes obey to rectangles,
but at other times, refuse to do just that, like they'd
be designed by Hundertwasser. And we can't force that
onto anyone. We can suggest it to everyone, it being
a exciting chapter in ones one musical upbringing. But
in the end, as some people in the jury will voyeuristically,
and excitingly view the explicit and uncensored pictures
of violent crimes, others are just disgusted. The same
goes for this record.