Volume On: unIndian songs
label: anticon
production: why?, others.
guests: sole, why?, others.
year of release: 2005
 
tracklisting
1. Sermon On The Subject Of Death, Part One
2. O Hosanna
3. & 4. Lifelong Liquidation Sale (1850 - 1950)
5. Sermon On The Subject Of Death, Part Two
6. O Silent Bed
7. The Dead Of A Day
8. Arrest The President
9. The History Channel...
10. Anticon.
11. Field Reports From The Financial District
12. The Toss & Turn
13. Jane 2: Electric Boogaloo
13. Blind Dates
Let's see if we can find a proper metaphor for this.
Take a talented photographer and his photographs. Looking at them one by one, you'll find many pics you love, some pretty good ones, and a couple you're not too thrilled with. With this pile of pictures in your hand, you grab some scissors and start to cut them up, and construct a collage. Once done, you take a step back, look at what you've done, and suddenly you realize that this bits and pieces artwork might not be that good anymore.
This description appears to be quite fitting for pedestrian's debut album "Volume One: unIndian songs". Heck, the problems already start with the title. However, if you look at this collage, i.e. album, you can still recognize the photographs that you used to really like. Some of the individual songs are actually pretty good. But even some of these photographs don't look as nice anymore, because you cut them up, because they are partially covered by some other pics, or you put two pictures together, to create a third one. This album is so cluttered with ideas, so many inside jokes, so many 'artsy' moments and unnecessary changes, it's such a patchwork of ideas, that we're looking at this collage and get a feeling of chaos. And the worst is that all the bad pictures even make the good photographs look mediocre.
So we got a couple of tracks on here that shouldn't even be on here, like the whole "Sermon On The Subject Of Death" series. By track six ("O Silent Bed") that preaching stuff gets really annoying. Just as unneeded is part one of "Lifelong Liquidation Sale (1850 - 1950)". Hence the frustration is appearing early in the album, as on "O Hosanna" the changes are so frequent, that we cannot even properly sink our teeth into whatever there is. And often there'd be something interesting.
This frustration gets so strong that by track eleven ("Field Reports From The Financial District"), you cannot be bothered with properly concerning yourself with a song anymore, because it will be yanked away from you sooner than later. This "Field Reports…" song is actually something of 'standard' Anticon music, but more of the boring unspectacular kind. Its saving grace is that the longer it goes the more it grows on you, and the more you can get lost in the music again. However, no one shall claim to really understand everything this man talks about.
What's also very notable how much why? has left his mark on this record. There's a lot of off color singing on here, like on "O Silent Bed", on the folkish "The Dead Of The Day" (which actually happens to be one of the better songs on here), with a stupid accent on "The History Channel…" or as a pop hook on "Jane 2: Electric Boogaloo". And just as notable are the many old school influences, be it the scratching on "O Silent Bed", or the whole of "Arrest The President", a kind of an Intelligent Hoodlum remake, with Sole and others on the song. The lyrics are a little dated now though, although they'll be of relevance again during the impeachment hearings. It's still one of the best songs, with that old school vibe, scratches, an LL Cool J sample and a long end.
Another one of the highlights is "Anticon." that features a beat Sage Francis would rhyme over too: there's a great horn, a funky guitar and much more; kinda like on "The Toss & Turn" too. However there's again at least three parts to this, with them having little to do with each other, and part three smelling pretty badly. We'd rather have more of "Jane 2: Electric Boogaloo", which contains humor we enjoy, a beat we like and rhymes that make the best out of a simplified style. It is sing songy, catchy, good. Speaking of flow: whatever happened to that breaking the sound barrier flow pedestrian did on that Sole 12"? That ish was dope. Although, pedestrian can sound good when he just raps and speaks over a more or less regular beat. Or when he does straight rap on "Blind Dates" over a previously heard sample, a live horn and a good beat. That might not necessarily be for pedestrian though, and is kinda reminiscent of old RBX material.
This record is a strenuous collage of fragments. In style it's stuck in an old and too old Anticon style. While the clash of 'emo-hop' and old school aesthetics is interesting, considering how much time it took for this to be done, you gotta wonder about the outcome.
review: tadah
 
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