Professor Kliq – The Scientific Method, Volume II Experiments in Sound Perspective (Jamendo)
When an album has a title like that I can’t help but naturally assume that it’s going to sound terrible. Words like ‘experimental’ and ‘abstract’ all too often equate in muso language to someone getting carried away with themselves and telling everyone over and over again that 90 minutes of random noises is the future of music as opposed to a simple excersize in audio masturbation with ProTools. But hey, judge not an album by its title for it may well mean fuck all. Or it may mean rather less than your worst assumptions would suggest.
Professor Kliq (Mike Else), a 22 year old native of Illinois, does a good job of dismissing my assumptions about music which makes claims of progressiveness for itself although he doesn’t quite do a complete job of it. This is an album of… well, it fits a fair few different and relatively anonymous categories (Jamendo classes it under Trip-Hop, Breakbeat, Ambient, Electro and Dance) but personally I’d say ‘Ambient with spikes and a Hip Hop flavour’ and it does what it does well. You can easily have this stuff playing in the background of your life as a serene back beat to whatever else is going on but every now and then you get one of those aforementioned spikes appearing and it’s hard to say whether that’s a bad thing or not. The flourishes do distinguish this album from a lot of other music with the same apparent goals but they also force you to really listen when you’re perhaps not all that enthusiastic about doing so, a mood is built up with some solid production and suddenly you’ll find yourself being dragged back to devoting yourself to the music. Again, not necessarily a bad thing but it gives the whole thing a rather contrary feel to it, both ambient chillout noise and interesting but demanding experimental stuff. Although it should be said that these little oddities are no bad thing in themselves, they’re certainly on the right side of playing with sounds as opposed to the wrong side of pointless pretension.
Looking for something to compare Professor Kliq’s work to is a bit of a challenge too, Kool Keith doing his Doc Octagon bit or the Deltron 3030 project both seem like fair associations to make but without being true Hip Hop a gap forms, especially as Kliq pushes his experimental side beyond that which those natural peers managed (or aspired to) themselves and there’s a lot of praise contained in that. I’ll try not to get too carried away with praising this album for its differences thought because whilst there’s some truly interesting stuff contained here the end result doesn’t prove it to be something unique or new, there are traces of something here, something which Professor Kliq has got a lot of time to build into something bigger but for now those traces have yet to elevate themselves to a new level.
Anyways, give it a try, you’re unlikely to regret it.