I recently blogged about the release of Anti-Pop Consortium's 4th full Length album "Fluorescent Black". Which is in my estimation, an incredible return for the group (who disbanded in 2002). As lyrically experimental as any of their previous work, with production to match... but spring boarding off the lessons they learned on 2003's "Arrhythmia", with strong beats, great arrangements and squelch-groove bass lines.
It's an electric shock to Hip-Hop's heart.
But I would expect nothing less.
These guys basically revolutionized the genre with the release of their first album way back in 2000. That album, "Tragic Epilogue" came out while I was studying film at college. I would spend around an hour every day in my local indie record store. Just listening to music and looking for new inspiration. I was in the throes of my own personal musical enlightening, searching for things I'd never heard before, and Anti-Pop Consortium definitely provided that.
That first album is so out-there... it pretty much defined the brain-bending ethos behind Alternative rap music. Proving hands down that rap is a valid 'art' form... basically by creating a record that was more 'art' than it was 'music'! From it's bizarre cover (shown to the right) to the song link sketches, it really is different from anything will have ever heard. And It remains a pivotal benchmark in Hip Hop's history.
Anti-Pop Consortium formed in New York in 1997. The four members: Beans, M. Sayyid, High Priest, and producer Earl Blaize met at a poetry slam night. Oviously recognising a shared spark, they set about creating something that married the stream-of-consciousness flows within their poetry, and the heavy rythms of the electronic music they loved. Not stopping there, they drew influences from alt-rock (bands like the Butthole Surfers, and Nirvana) and mashed it all into a new sound.
They took that sound from the tripped-out spaceyness of "Tragic Epilogue", through the strange sketch filled self-release, "Shopping Carts Crashing", to the matured genius sound of "Arrhythmia". An album that, due to it's more conventional 'song' arrangements, finally started to get people interested in the group. Tragically, just as their profile in the media began to raise, and their fanbase increase, they split siting musical differences. A posthumous release came out the year after the split, the Experimental Jazz outing "Anti-Pop vs Matthew Shipp". A collaboration which really saw them return to their poetry roots.
Although all of the members went about doing solo projects, Beans notably released a number of interesting albums, and M. Sayyid and High Priest released a good album under the moniker of Airborn Audio, The loss of such an inventive group was a serious blow to the future of hip hop... but with their reformation I think I can breathe easy knowing that the future is in good hands.
Anti-Pop Consortium's - Fluorescent Black is out now on Big Dada Records. Buy it.