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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Polyphonic The Verbose
Abstract Data Ark
Audio 8

Rating: 8/10 ?


December 22, 2006
Remember all those times LAS told you that Chicago hip-hop was a force to be reckoned with? Here's more evidence.

Polyphonic, aka Polyphonic The Verbose, is a producer/DJ most commonly known for his connection with prolific Chicago MC Serengeti and his production credits on Certain Sound and Pugslee Atomz's Playing With Matches. With his debut solo release, Abstract Data Ark, Polyphonic shows that he can carry the weight all by his lonesome.

That is not to say that Polyphonic is truly going it alone on his first effort. The album runs its course over 14 tracks, eight of which include accompaniment by a vocalist, MC, or instrumentalist. Labelmates Nico B, AM Overtone, Raistlin, and Serengeti lend their talents, and a non-Audio 8 notable guest spot comes in the form of the always-potent Psalm One. The remaining six tracks strictly showcase Polyphonic and his intrinsic creative vices (clever samples, fresh hip-hop/electronic sounds, leftfield effects, and moving beats).

It is important to note that, as of late, albums of the instrumental hip-hop persuasion have been overly criticized by some. That said, Polyphonic seems to have been aware of the penalty and distributes moods, techniques, and lyricism to an even spread. The opener ("Container Life #473") sets the standard with a vocal sample start ("In the beginning, the earth was without ball and boy"); a dissected, filtered tonal hook; jumpy synth melodies; bumpin' glitchy beats; and later, a pinging bicycle bell that punctuates the snare beat.

The next cut focuses more intently on a smaller set of sounds and frees some space for Nico B and Benjamin Lamar to rhyme. Sometimes in these cases, when MCs are featured on other peoples' material they manage to inadvertently steal the show. But to his credit, in "Moving On" Polyphonic still finds a way to keep the listener's ear throughout samples of a shrill, cracking flute and juttering upright bass.

Polyphonic's style is something of a glitch, electronic, new school hip-hop hybrid. Fans of Prefuse 73 and Dabrye will identify attractive real and synthetic sounds and techniques throughout, and will also enjoy Polyphonic's ability to fluidly mix it up with several different capable, independent rappers. This is a versatile, complete product that satiates many subgenres, moods and crowds, and promises one artist's rising future.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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