March 17, 2023

Sonic Sum - Films (2008 Reissue)

*Reissued in 2008 by Definitive Jux with a new album a cover. 
Contains 12 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop 
Label Number: DJX154

© 2003-2008 Definitive Jux
This album from Bronx rapper Rob Sonic and his crew of producer friends -- Fred Ones, Eric M.O., and Preservation -- came out in Japan a few years before the label troubles that stopped it from being available elsewhere could be overcome. Eventually Definitive Jux gave it a wider release, presumably based on the high quality of the previous solo Rob Sonic album, Sabotage Gigante. On that album he showed that he'd learned to talk plainly when he needed to, but this flashback reminds listeners of what he was like at his most abstract. If these songs were films, they would be the kind you argue about with your friends after watching them. In the denser verses, like the opener of "Rocket," the lines tumble out of the speakers at you like blocks in a game of Tetris, and assembling them into some kind of coherence before the next lines fly at you is a near-impossible feat of linguistic nimbleness. The only response is to let them wash over you, the sneered words raining down in cascades of vagueness that slowly build up until they either accrue meaning or don't, depending on the song and the individual. Take this example from "Marathon": "An after-hours saint in an unhonorable discharge/Counterpoint it stands still/The color-hungry mandrill/Trying to hang glide with a pocket full of anvils." Sometimes an overdose of signal can sound just like noise and sometimes it really is just noise. The moody music is an effective counterpoint to all that wordplay, the echoes and pianos in "Negatives," the squelches and tinkles in "Circuit Breaker," and the ominously menacing bass and Vangelis strings in "Novelty Model A." Still, this is very much an acquired taste.

 * Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 

 tags: sonic sum, films, 2003, 2008, reissue, flac,