Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Pick a Bigger Weapon

Reasons to write about Cadence Weapon:

1) Playing Liverpool's SoundCity event tomorrow night at Alma de Cuba (supporting Santogold - take a goosy gander here) but a 23:00 - 02:00 schedule and I'm on earlies........what to do?

2) New album 'After Party Babies' was on my eagerly awaited list earlier this year but has been cruelly overlooked thus far due to an underwhelming first impression. Despite this, still more than good enough to review.

3) His song '30 Seconds' has long been an intended source of inspiration to write about ethical buying, multi-national company sourcing policy, and the inherent complications and hypocrisy thereof. Unfortunately that's about as coherent as I've achieved to date, so still waiting for a certain shade of green on this point.

4) ATP utterly overwhelmed me as a musical experience and I still haven't fully gathered my thoughts on all we took in. Then how to dissect it down into coherent band reviews.......argh, run for the safe hills of individual artist worship!

More than enough reason, I think you'll agree?

So this is a guy called Rollie Pemberton from Edmonton, aka Cadence Weapon. A freelancer, I think, for Pitchfork now releasing heavily electronicised hip hop at a rapid pace. Last year (or late '06 Stateside) saw his debut 'Breaking Kayfabe' race out the cage like a puppy who hasn't yet learned which leg goes in front of the other for successful walking.This was not to its detriment. The harsh electronic backings on songs like 'Sharks' and 'Vicarious' added a vibrancy to the staccato flow of the beats and rhymes. Granted, hip hop/rap is far from my area of expertise but I have dipped in regularly since being nudged that way by Method Man in the late '90's, so I at least know what I enjoy if little more. To wit, I like energy, passion/anger, and hopefully a sense of individuality. 'Breaking Kayfabe' had this in spades and is easily my favourite release in this genre in the last few years.

Cadence Weapon - Sharks

Moving onto newie 'After Party Babies' was exciting as I only really got the debut this time last year, so after only 9 months new material was an unexpected bonus. So initially the smooth flow of 'In Search of the Youth Crew' threw me somewhat. Following that, much of the album follows in the same vein, a much more coherent and streamlined listen. Perhaps that should be expected as an artist matures, but it wasn't what I was hoping for on the surface.......surely most rappers do this, so moving towards it loses some of that critical identity creation? Well, maybe not. Further listens reveal more of the character and lyrics that made Kayfabe excellent, it's just more subtle and well directed. Most of the static electricity has been replaced by a well regulated supply of power, but it still lights the bulb more reliably.

On balance, I'll still plump to listen to the debut album if only 50 minutes to spare and the two loaded on my iPod, but the happy news is that the sophomore outing is a grower and may yet elicit even more personality. Put '30 Seconds' and 'The New Face of Fashion' back to back, though, and tell me which one best gets the blood pumping.

Now, back to that dissection of ethical commerce.......errr, maybe figuring out ATP will be easier, on reflection.........my head hurts.

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....nice man

Now playing: Cadence Weapon - We Move Away
via FoxyTunes

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