producers: hexamgram23, joker 70
guests: eanna, negro sco, vertigone, lucids
1. Creature Comforts
2. Human Ego feat. Eanna
3. False Divine
5. Icicles
6. Six
7. All God
8. Born
9. My Brother [remix to "Battle for the Planet"]
10. Negative Space
11. E-den
12. Self Help
13. Lucky I'm Mad feat. Negro Sco of 7 Fold Symphony
14. Echelon [The Infomercial]
15. Salvation feat. Vertigone of The Essays, Lucids of Collective Conscious
16. The Rain


Human Pride And The Lack Thereof

"how difficult can it be to keep a sound from spreading?"

from the first strains of "creature comforts" - the opening cut on their 'Human Pride And The Lack Thereof' long player - it's clear that Human Cropcircles are not your run of the mill hip-hop producers. if you're looking for dull loops lifted from hits of yesteryear and tired, well worn drum breaks, then you've got the wrong CD (and, i could suggest, the wrong web site). hexagram 23 and joker 70 - the Missouri based brothers behind the cryptic moniker - have created one of the most original debuts i've heard in a long time. coupling superbly crafted beats with imaginitive vocal samples, the 58 minutes and 30 seconds that comprises 'Human Pride...' are some of the most intricate and well thought out you'll absorb this year.

for those looking to draw similarities between Human Cropcircles and other artists, i'd suggest that the duo sit somewhere between Presage's Jel and UK producer Luke Vibert, the man behind the boards on the first two Big Dada 12"s. there are elements of New Flesh For Old's Part 2 in there too, as well as moments that wouldn't be out of place on a DJ Wally album, but to be perfectly honest, Human Cropcircles are far from flattered by the comparisons. at times i thought i was listening to Prince Paul's 'Psychoanalysis' ("false divine" in particular), at others Anti-Pop's Earl Blaize ("lurker") and moments of the Automator's 'A Better Tomorrow' ("icicles").

whilst it is predominantly an instrumental album, vocal cuts like "lurker" and "my brother" (which both feature the lyrical stylings of hexagram himself to good effect) add another element to the mix and further show the depth and versatility of the Human Cropcircles arsenal. guest spots from Negro Sco of 7 Fold Symphony (on "Lucky I'm Mad") and Vertigone of The Essays & Lucid of Collective Conscious ("Salvation") further enhance the mix and the excellent "six" offers a suggestion of what Q-Bert's 'Wave Twisters' might have sounded like had he created it on the MPC rather than the 1210s. with it's undertones of mistrust and paranoia, 'Human Pride...' manages to evoke the same edgy quality that a John Carpenter score has, creating a mood of cynicism and mistrust but then guiding the listener through it via the various informed (though obviously disembodied) voices of the overlayed sound bites.

overall, hexagram 23 and joker 70 have created the kind of work only graf artists (in the majority) seem to manage - taking in influences from so many diverse sources and creating an LP that manages to have a very distinct character without constantly needing an emcee on each track to maintain it. the album is intelligent, informative and most importantly one of the best instrumental outings you're likely to hear this year. yes, there's room for improvement, but i'd be hard pressed to name an album in which there wasn't - if Human Cropcircles don't blow up like Michelangelo Antonioni it won't be anything to do with any lack of quality, that's for certain.

review: waxfactor

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