Showing posts with label horrorcore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horrorcore. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

video review: 'there existed an addiction to blood' by clipping.

Well, this was a nasty, but pretty damn great listen. Hope you all enjoy the analysis - enjoy!

album review: 'there existed an addiction to blood' by clipping.

I've had the suspicion for a long time that there's a subsection of critics that just don't 'get' clipping. And on some level I do include myself, in that with every listen I've given to a clipping. album I'm almost positive that I'm missing some sort of larger detail that demands deeper examination, either in the noisy, experimental glitch of the production or Daveed Diggs' snarled, endlessly charismatic wordplay. More to the point, clipping. has not really stuck with any clear tradition or arc in hip-hop: their self-titled debut was as much of a ruthless parody of the brutality of the streets as its production still managed to generate some of the most experimental but accessible bangers of the decade. And yet after Daveed Diggs starred in Hamilton, you'd think the easy path would be to slightly more conventional hip-hop to capitalize on that success... so let's make Splendor & Misery, an even more convoluted and thorny hip-hop space opera in the tradition of Deltron 3030 that brought in elements of spoken word, icier textures, and even blues and southern gospel. 

And thus when I've seen the mixed critical reception to There Existed An Addiction To Blood, characterizing the album as horrorcore thanks to its title reference to the 1970s experimental horror film Ganja & Hess, which is a project exploring black vampirism as an extended metaphor for addiction, cultural assimilation, white imperialism, and religion, and considering in some cases you don't see any of those added depths even being discussed, you get the impression that a lot of folks have missed the point. Hell, you can make the argument that most haven't even bothered doing the research to articulate any point to begin with, but you should all know that's not how I make reviews, so here we go: what did we get from There Existed An Addiction To Blood?

Friday, July 17, 2015

video review: 'twelve reasons to die ii' by ghostface killah

I honestly expected this review would have more to it, given how long it took going through Ghostface's discography, but eh, it happens.

Next up... actually, not quite sure. Fair few number of projects have accumulated, between Jason Isbell, Alan Jackson, LMNO & Mr. Brady, Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala... yeah, I got my hands full. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

album review: 'twelve reasons to die ii' by ghostface killah

Let's talk a little bit about sequels. Specifically, the sequels to concept albums, because especially in hip-hop, the album 'sequel' is nothing all that special, and rarely has anything to do with the actual original piece. Now concept albums are rare enough in hip-hop, but sequels to them are even rarer - and for the most part, not exactly an idea of which I'm all that fond. After all, isn't the point behind a great concept album is that it's self-contained, managed to tell the entire story within the confines of the record? Don't you undercut some of the story's original punch with unnecessary sequels?

And in this case, it makes a little less sense than usual. When Ghostface Killah set out to make his exploitation homage record Twelve Reasons To Die with Adrian Younge handling all of the production, I was initially really intrigued, being a long-time fan of 70s exploitation flicks and of Ghostface Killah, a rapper who has dropped more than his fair share of outright classic hip-hop records both with Wu-Tang Clan and on his own. Seriously, go back and relisten to Supreme Clientele and Fishscale, the man is seriously talented as a wordsmith and rapper, with the sort of versatility and intensity you love to see in great rappers. But more than that, Ghostface was a storyteller, and he had a knack for the hyper-stylized tales of crime and debauchery that'd add a lot of colour to this sort of gangsta parable, where Ghostface is betrayed and killed as a crime boss before rising to slay his adversaries in increasingly gruesome fashion.

And yet I wouldn't say Twelve Reasons To Die is in the upper tier of Ghostface records. For one, Adrian Younge production captured a lot of the eerie vibe but always felt a little too slick and lacking in texture to really nail the grimy, blaxploitation vibe. If I'm being honest, I might like Apollo Brown's soul-sample remix a little more, because even though it doesn't have the same operatic theatricality, it feels more authentic to the era or at least to Ghostface's flow. But the larger problem is that there really wasn't room for a sequel - it's a quick, gruesome, self-contained tale that doesn't really have the overloaded plot you would expect out of most exploitation films of the time. So it begged the question what additional stories Ghostface Killah could tell - or maybe he was just hunting for quick name recognition as he continues to flood the market with project after project. But hey, Ghostface is nothing but imaginative, and I was curious where he'd take this - does Twelve Reasons To Die II hold up to the original?

Monday, October 21, 2013

video review: 'kill the architect' by cage

I can't imagine this one is going to go over well, but believe me, I'm just as disappointed as you might be. Damn it, I wanted this album to be good.

Next review is either Brandy Clark or the long-delayed Dream Theater album - stay tuned!

album review: 'kill the architect' by cage

As I've said a number of times in the past, I've long been getting sick of musical acts trying to shock or scare me. Maybe it's an issue of maturity or desensitization or the fact that by now I think I've been exposed to so many acts who base their entire appeal off of a narrow 'shock' spectrum, but most of these acts just do nothing to really get under my skin anymore. I mean, once you start listening to black metal, with acts that might genuinely be monstrous people, you pretty much have hit the absolute extreme of material designed to shock and intimidate. On top of that, most of these bands tend to go for the same subject material - pseudo-goth torture porn with mild flirtations with sexual violence or maybe a stint in the insane asylum.

That being said, there are a few acts that have managed to get under my skin in a good way. Eminem always springs to mind, particularly his older stuff and especially The Marshall Mathers LP, mostly because there's always the sick undercurrent that there might be some vestige of truth in his story (and the fact that Eminem sold that material incredibly well). More recently this year, I reviewed The Terror by The Flaming Lips, an incredible album that manages to scare the hell out of me every time I listen to it, mostly because it opts for psychological horror and nails it effectively. What these two albums have in common is something that seems to finally be coming back in the horror film genre these days: subtlety and pacing, the type of horror that relies on your imagination to do the dirty work and is designed to build tension with what you don't know and can't see. It's a real shame you don't see more artists - particularly horrorcore rap artists - going in this direction - but I'm not surprised they don't: it's tough to create the right atmosphere without relying on cheap jump scares or graphic subject matter. Hell, many people would argue when Eminem made Relapse that he was relying on these to make the album 'scary' (which completely misses the point of Relapse, but that's a conversation for a later day).

So let's talk about a rapper who has often been compared to Eminem and who once feuded with him, a New York horrorcore rapper named Cage. Like Eminem, he was an extremely skilled white rapper who drew on his life to fuel the darkness of his songs - yet unlike Eminem, there was a lot more significant trauma to Cage to utilize. Between drug abuse at an early age, expulsion from school, a stint at a military base in Germany, repeated beatings from his stepfather, and sixteen hellish months spent in a psychiatric hospital, Cage had more than enough terrifying material to draw upon, most of which came into sharp view on his superb 2005 album Hell's Winter. But after a disappointing and lackluster rap rock experiment in 2009 with Depart from Me, where Cage tried (and mostly failed) to incorporate elements of hardcore punk into his record, Cage has been rather quiet, only showing up in a short horror film backed by Kid Cudi (and directed by Shia LaBoeuf) in 2011. That was until this year, where he has dropped a new album titled Kill The Architect, and really, it couldn't have come at a better time, with darker rap becoming more popular in the mainstream with the onset of trap and his old rival Eminem dropping an album in a few weeks. So how does Cage's new record measure up?