SCLWN – White Rabbit/New Yeah (Hool-a-Hop Records)
It all seems to be happening in Russia at the moment, barely any time at all after releasing his solo effort ‘Horseboy’ Damscray is back to teaming up with SCLWN to release an EP length follow up to ‘Everything is OK’, which I reviewed a while back and found to be not too bad at all.
White Rabbit/New Yeah is, techincally, a double A side single with the remaining tracks made up of instrumental versions of both and ‘Birds’, which is listed as a demo, and it’s a little hard to see where any of them fit into the evolution of the style displayed on ‘Everything is OK’ and Damscray’s solo work. Both of the contributors have shown a fairly dark sound in their previous works which does follow through onto this effort to some degree but the brooding, rumbling production that I was starting to expect seems to have been replaced with a more jagged style, more aggressive and quicker in it’s attempts to instill a measure of fear or edginess in the listener. It works well though, especially on White Rabbit where in fits and bursts it alternates between an almost cruel brutality and a more recognizable creeping eeriness, the latter appealing more to my personal preferences but the former still draws you in, although it doesn’t offer you any help or peaceful moments when you’re caught listening.
As ever I can’t say anything about the lyrical side of things, what with my Russian being non-existant and all, but SCLWN’s vocal style still stands out as a seperate layer of the music as a whole. It’s a good match between the producer and the Rapper, with SCLWN’s tone and pace charging through each track, following it’s background in drawing you in but doing nothing to make your life easy, it’s a demanding style with a mix between tense passion about what’s being done and absolute indifference towards what you hear.
The downside? Well, that’s pretty much contained in the up-side, this is by no means an easy listen and where ‘Horseboy’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘Everything is OK’ did offer some breaks and easily digestable moments to the listener this offers none at all. Tie yourself to the music and there’s something worth hearing but it’ll never be one to have playing in the background or on the bus, which leads to the question of what they’ll do next, how much of a challenge can you throw up before it moves beyond music and into an open challenge? At this point they already seem to be straying into the realms of audio experimentation which is such a demanding, niche trade to ply that most feel themselves excluded from it even when it’s done as well as it is here.
Anyway, it’s definitely worth a download and a listen if your preferences lie towards Trip-Hop/Hip-Hop covered in spikes or experimental stuff that requires a dark room, headphones and meditative concentration but if you’re looking for a more relaxed listen then you’d be better off opting for ‘Horseboy’.