Tuesday, 19 August 2008

'Two Cities' - Modulok & Bare Beats (album review)

With a good mix of dusty jazz, 50’s film suspense music and punchy drums Bare Beats creates a concrete foundation for Canadian MC Modulok (no not the two headed red freak from Masters of the Universe!) to build upon. Modulok constructs a solid structure; think if you will, of a factory or mill from the industrial revolution. This is no shiny girders-and-glass, yuppie flat project although the instrumentals would also suit an MC who was that way inclined. Modulok, of Toronto’s Red Ants, has perhaps interpreted these beats in a way that no other MC would; twisting them to his own purposes.

Each of the 10 tracks (11 if you count the ‘hidden’ one) has a clear manifesto. ‘Intro’ actually introduces the artists and the collaboration, ‘Happiness’ is really about unhappiness, ‘City’ symbolically describes urban life and so on. You wont be left wondering what Modulok is on about. That’s not to say these are nursery rhymes, it’s just that Modulok and his guests are communicators. Lyrics like “One day you wont be able to tell where Modulok stops and the city begins to swell” are replete with imagery yet they convey exactly how the MC feels – it’s poetic.

Story telling is also strength. ‘Grimy’ tells a tale of rejection as a result of a woman’s desire for wealth. ‘Stories’ is in a classic mould; 3 accounts of different people’s life changes. ‘Assassin’ is a first person shoot-em-up that I’m sure must be a metaphor for something.

Guests come in the form of old Bare Beats collaborators (Perry Scaramanga, Kal Sereousz and Smokey on ‘Trouble’), fellow Torontoans (Apollo Creed and Baracuda), UK scratchmaster Jabba Tha Kut and beatboxer Wireless.

This album is on Bare Records, is available now from (and can be listened to at) the Modulok and Bare Beats myspace for only £6.99 and that pays for it to get right to your crib too. If you’re a fan of indie Hip Hop, good production and poetic but understandable lyrics then grab yourself a copy of ‘Two Cities’. If you fancy a free taster of what these boys are capable of you can have one from here.

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