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27 May 2011

Company Flow - 'Funcrusher Plus' (Rawkus)

Earlier in these annals I revisited the first Anti-Pop Consortium album, and looked at the overall concept of "experimental hip-hop", concluding:
I guess I must accept the reality: I just don't like hip-hop; if I want experimental + language I'll go to Robert Ashley or Henri Chopin. The instrumentals are probably my favorite part, which, I know, says more about me than about the music itself. Maybe I'm being too hard on them, but I don't think time has been too kind to this; there's a few 'interesting' elements, but interesting in a Logan's Run kind of way. Maybe they're talking about slingshotting into the sun and walls turning inside out, but it still has that rap diction. That masculine affect is a turn-off; it makes me think that the real radicals are the white kids doing sound poetry in the basements of Columbus, OH and other such dens of weirdness.
Oh, to quote myself on these same pages - but 2009 feels like so long ago. Anyway, I think upon revisiting Funcrusher Plus, which I really have not listened in over a decade, I better revise the above statement. I do actually like hip-hop, at least a little bit. For some reason the "rap diction" of these guys doesn't bother me, and I actually love the music here. The production on this is spacious and minimal, yet actually packed with wonderful wonderful details - a truly psychedelic experience, as cheesy at that may sound. Side one has the definitive Company Flow song, '8 Steps to Perfection', which is all bending strings and horror-film vibes, yet without having any trace of that horror-rap shit. And this isn't completely removed from black urban music - 'Silence' has a raw 1970's soul feel yet is repetitious and infectious while the voice sounds tense and stretched. This album is really cobbled together from singles and various recordings, so it's not a meticulously-plotted masterpiece. But maybe that's what makes it so compelling - it really is a unique and brilliant approach to music, very much of its genre but innovative and masterful at the same time. 'The Fire In Which You Burn' has sharp, pinging strings that attenuate the song towards psychic madness, and I think one of the reasons I've taken so long to write about this is that the more time I wait between listens, the more enjoyable it is. The double-LP format might be a bit too much, and the physical record feels crammed too, with the non-gatefold sleeve and the busy, ugly hip-hop design sensibility. I could probably just stick with this and Dr. Octagon and be content with this one period in art/rap hybrids, because with the frequency that I will actually go to Funcrusher Plus, it could last a lifetime.

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