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 » 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.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Antipop Consortium Vs. Matthew Shipp
Antipop Consortium Vs. Matthew Shipp
Thirsty Ear

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Antipop Consortium may be dead and buried, but that hasn't stopped one of the most abstract hip hop ensembles from the late 90's and early millennium from putting out a new record. The pared down group, consisting of Beans and Priest but not Sayyid on this record, has taken on the avant free jazz of pianist Matthew Shipp as part of the Thirsty Ear Records' Blue Series. This is about as far as you can get from more familiar jazz-rap pairings such as Guru's Jazzmatazz or the jazzy beats of Digable Planets. This is straight up cerebellum hip hop and unleashed jazz that employs the concept of 'free' as more than just a description.

Shipp's piano playing and the instrumentation of his band (Khan Jamal - vibes, William Parker - bass, Guillermo E. Brown - drums, Daniel Carter - trumpet) meet head on with the stream of consciousness raps of Antipop. Beans and Priest say 'fuck you' to hip hop conventions and fully embrace them at the same time, with mixed results. Their style is off kilter but based on the "Yes, yes, ya'll" and they strive to have it both ways. On "Staph," they don't start rapping until a minute and a half of Shipp's improv has gone by, over a mix of organic and programmed drums. "Stereo!" they call out before launching into their flow and ending with an emphatic "Malfunction!" This certainly isn't Nas, this isn't El-P, this isn't even MC Serch or Kool Keith. Priest affects the flow of Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest at times, most likely not having anything to do with the similarity of their names. On tracks like "Slow Horn" he raps "This is that powerful music" over a heavy and slow programmed beat and synth bleeps, Shipp's piano skittering above the surface. Shipp gets his moments to shine as well. The album starts out with "Places I've Never Been," all pounded piano chords over synths and disorganized drum programming. His best moment arrives during the spare "Stream Light" as he plays with a light and free hand, lazily embarking upon cacophonous chord changes over Parker's bass. Shipp and Antipop come together best on "A Knot in Your Bop" which, after Beans and Priest practice some breath control, finds Shipp and company launching into an interpretation of Miles Davis' "All Blues." Free-jazz indeed.

This album will not be to everyone's liking for sure. It may be too avant for the headz and too involved in the company's flow for the jazz cats. But that seems to be the point here and hopefully listeners from both camps can both vibe and release the head nod. Those who don't reside in either camp will probably enjoy this after accepting the heady raps, spaced out blip production and free form jazz that lies within. The real is indeed surreal, a point that this match up drives home.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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