Earlier in the week I noticed something was afoot on Aesop Rock’s Instagram account. I actually thought he’d been hacked, as all his posts had been removed and his bio had been replaced with a line of garbled text. But then yesterday, four transmissions appeared which could be interpreted as hinting at the arrival of a new project. And now today, we are blessed with a whole new video, the first to be taken from his forthcoming album. The Gates plays out in classic 80’s sci-fi style, with three kids following a mysterious neon white rabbit that appears in the backyard, before leading them to a book full of oddities, as you will see. The track is produced by Aesop Rock. The album, Spirit World Field Guide, is due for release on 13 November via Rhyemsayers.
As with every genre, hip hop has always had its tropes and trends; similar themes and subjects have been consistently explored and slapped on wax for the last forty years. But there are some rap songs that have materialised during that time, which have eschewed the more familiar themes and instead taken delight in the whimsical, the weird and the wonderful. See: Laundry by R.A.P. Ferreira, from his excellent Purple Moonlight Pages album, for a recent example.
But it’s Aesop Rock who has been the brains behind a number of my favourites that have emerged over the years, and so below I have outlined six of the best from the Rhymesayers artist. It provides some insight into why he has been one of my favourite rappers for the last 15 years, thanks in part to his ability to rap about any topic and deliver it with that unique command of language he brings to his lyricism. Continue reading “Why So Serious?”
Following on from the surprise arrival of their first single in 11 years, now Felt are back with a whole new album. Felt 4 U is Murs and Slug’s first full-length project since the release of Felt 3 back in 2009, and on it we find the duo reuniting with arguably the most favoured producer from their earlier offerings – Ant. He’s cooked up a batch of beats which draw on his trademarks influences – funk, blues, country – resulting in an album where Ant is very much the driving force, representing a shift in the dynamic from their previous projects. Some superb guest spots too, with Blimes bringing her vocal excellence to the mix, as well as appearances from Felt 1 and 3 producers, The Grouch and Aesop Rock respectively. And finally a feature from Blueprint, but under his singing alias – Shepard Albertson. The whole album is a welcome surprise for fans and critics alike, judging by the initial reaction, and it also serves as a fitting next chapter in the duo’s journey. You can listen to the album in full below and physicals are available via Rhymesayers. Continue reading “Felt: Felt 4 U (Stream)”
New music here from Aesop Rock, as he lets his latest creation loose into the world. This new EP is actually the soundtrack from a computer game, Freedom Finger, which is made by one of Ace’s old friends, Travil Millard, who reached out to the Rhymesayers artist to ask him to make some original music for the game. He provided six instrumentals, which crop up at various stages throughout the game, but he also decided to make three brand new vocal tracks which would appear later on bonus levels. Now Rhymesayers have issued a vinyl release of the new music, featuring the three new tracks, plus all the original instrumentals. It’s available on limited edition 10″ vinyl, as well as digital, which you can stream below. Physicals and downloads are available via Bandcamp. Continue reading “Aesop Rock: Drums On The Wheel + EP Stream”
“A little bread, a little circus, it serve as a diversion for devils and death merchants” – and so begins the surprise new single from Aesop Rock, Rogue Wave, which saw its release yesterday. Sadly, the Rhymesayers artist is mourning the loss of a close friend at the moment, so a portion of proceeds from the single’s sales will go to the family of Kurt Hayashi. There are also two portraits of Kurt included in the video, which as you will see, is made up of portraits drawn by Aesop Rock, before being expertly stitched together by Rob Shaw. As well as the single itself, there are also t-shirts and stickers available, plus a limited edition 7″ version. All of which can be found here. Continue reading “Aesop Rock: Rogue Wave”
I’ve got three fantastic new videos in a row for you today, kicking off with the latest from one of my favourite albums of the year, the weird and wonderful Malibu Ken collaboration from Aesop Rock and TOBACCO. The video contains the condensed life story of a strange mould baby – for want of a better phrase – as Aesop breaks down his unsavoury living arrangements, which certainly ring true with virtually every shared house I lived in during my early 20’s, e.g. “One plate, one fork, itty-bitty lamp/I would offer you a drink, but I literally can’t”. The video was directed by Rob Shaw. Malibu Ken is out now on Rhymesayers. Continue reading “Aesop Rock & Tobacco: Tuesday”
At the start of the year we saw the release of an album that will quite easily emerge as one of the strongest projects of 2019, when these 12 months are all done and dusted. For his first producer album, Blockhead amassed an intoxicating brew of instrumentals and vocal tracks, featuring some of the best voices in rap today.
Now we are being treated to the full instrumental release of Free Sweatpants, which is a must for any fans of the NY producer, or simply for fans of first rate beat-making. And as if the opportunity to digest all these gems in their rawest form wasn’t enough to pique your interest, the album also comes with two bonus tracks featuring billy woods, Curly Castro and Aesop Rock. You can listen to this bonus tracks and the rest of the album below, with downloads available via Backwoodz Studioz. Continue reading “Blockhead: Free Sweatpants – The Instrumentals (Stream)”
Fresh track from one of the best wordsmiths of the era, as Homeboy Sandman returns with West Coast. Produced by his close friend and musical ally, Aesop Rock, the beat provides the ideal backdrop for Sandman’s usual level of gem dropping, including my personal favourite, “Sharpie for taggin up my new forcefield/Inside my beard I got a 3 course meal”. Listen to the track below and cop a download via Bandcamp. Continue reading “Homeboy Sandman: West Coast”
Speaking of Aesop Rock, he also blessed with a new project today, alongside producer and psych rock front man, TOBACCO. The duo, known collectively as Malibu Ken, seem to have found just the right creative balance when their respective talents are combined, with TOBACCO’s electronic 8-bit heavy beats verging just onto the right side of dark and angsty, providing the perfect backdrop for Aesop’s usual brand of studious lyricism. The whole album is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding Rhymesayers catalogue and you can hear the whole thing for yourself below. Physicals and merch are available over at Fifth Element. Continue reading “Aesop Rock & TOBACCO: Malibu Ken (Stream)”
Blockhead has been a favourite producer of mine ever since I first heard his work with Aesop Rock on Labor Days. Over the years he has maintained a steady stream of solid solo releases – Music by Cavelight and Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book, being two personal favourites – as well as some excellent production credits for some equally excellent rappers. The one thing I have always wanted to hear from him though was a production album, featuring loads of good MCs rapping their asses off, which is exactly what the New York producer delivered today.
Following on from last year’s Funeral Balloons – his debut release on his new label home, Backwoodz Studioz – Free Sweatpants merges quintessential Blockhead instrumentals, with plenty of strong features from a whole host of talented writers. As if it’s not enough having Tree, Hemlock Ernst, Aesop Rock, Armand Hammer, Homeboy Sandman, Vic Spencer and Marq Spekt involved, Blockhead kicks off the album with a track featuring Open Mike Eagle, billy woods AND Breeze Brewin. The result is as good as you would hope for and more. I spent years waiting for this album to happen and I am happy to be able to say it has surpassed all my expectations. Free Sweatpants is available to stream in full below and you find downloads over on Bandcamp. Continue reading “Blockhead: Free Sweatpants (Stream)”