Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Reviews::K-os - Atlantis: Hymns For Disco

Oh rap. Hip hop my old friend, what am I going to do with you? Should I just follow the old cliche and give you up because you're "for the kids"? Should I try to remain hip and embarrass my son by bumping the latest albums and dropping the newest rap slang? Yes, I have a son now, do I want him to listen to crappy music by dudes like Diddy or Lloyd Banks? Probably not, but that's still hip hop is it not? What's that? K-os has a new album? Oh well let's listen to that and talk about all this philosophical nonsense later.

I'm always eager to talk about my friend K-os. The man also known as Kheaven is a man of diverse interests and experiences, and he makes music accordingly. We started to see this on his debut, Exit, and it became much clearer on his wide ranging 2nd album, Joyful Rebellion. And guess what Jimmy? You're gonna get an extra-large serving of musical diversity if you plop Atlantis-Hymns For Disco into your old tapedeck. This is a good thing. There aren't many other folks on the planet who can mix hip hop with other genres (indie rock, R&B;, reggae, and yes, even disco) and come up with such an organic and enjoyable finished product.

The album kicks off with Electrik Heat - The Seekwill, a kind of a straight ahead hip hop endeavour over the classic Lyn Collins sample that has propelled countless hip hop jams (It Takes Two, GoldDigger (original), I Shouldn't have Done It). So you might think, oh, we're getting the rappin' K-os on this album, but that's when the old school R&B; ballad, The Rain kicks in. The contrast that is K-os is shown off perfectly in these first 2 songs. I know of very few people who could pull off an old-style R&B; jam, complete with guitar solo, in 06, let alone make an enjoyable song out of the guitar riff from Elvis' Jailhouse Rock. But that's exactly what happens on Equilizer. Think about that, it's kind of impressive.

Flypaper sounds a whole lot like Crabbuckit. You know this, K-os knows this, but should you really care? It's a great song. Sunday Morning is even better. Infectious handclaps over pounding drums (provided by DFA 1979's Sebastian Grainger) along with a catchy hook, should make this a winner on any radio station. Born To Run and Valhalla find K-os in indie rock mode, and both are enjoyable. The latter features Sam Roberts and Kevin Drew & Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene to let the kids know K-os' indie creds are intact.

Black Ice - Hymn for Disco is the most disco-ish sounding thing on the album with the snare and hi-hats kicking along, but the accompanying scratches and K-os' super speed raps are disco in the same way the Disco 3 were Disco. What does that mean exactly? A good question. AquaCityBoy is notable for the line "bangin' the beats from here to hali". I hear K-os recorded part of this album here in Haltown. Strange he didn't look me up, but I digress. Many more artists should record out here, and perform out here while you're at it.

Speaking of Halifax, Buck65 makes an appearance on the soulful Ballad of Noah and sounds good again, back to his Talkin' Honky Blues steez. This is a good thing, perhaps K-os can produce some songs on Buck's next album. Then it might not be a debacle like Secret House Against the World.

So back to what we were discussing at the start - Atlantis-Hymns For Disco is the hip hop I listen to in 2006. Is it really hip hop? A lot of the beats are hip hop oriented and K-os does a fair bit of rappin', but guess what? I don't care. You can call it what you want, it's good music. That's one of the keys K-os' success, just about everything he releases has a very musical feel to it, if that makes sense. Whatever the case may be, I doubt there's another album released this year that I'll enjoy more than this one, so if you haven't heard this yet, get on it.

Posted at 12:53 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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