Sounds Are Active/Sounds Familyre
re you tired of the new Jay-Z record yet? When you've finished washing out the taste of Cristal and ebony, take a dram of this. It tastes like metal and a 96 pack of Billy Graham approved Crayola Crayons. Only, somehow, the package was chewed into a mutinous, multicolored glob of rainbow goo. The eggplant is congealing with the banana mania and the razzmatazz is molding into the wisteria. The floor is a waxen, polychromatic coat of sharp, glistening shards. Got your attention? You’ll understand in a minute.
While ex-Truman's Waterer Glen Galloway aka Glen Galaxy aka Galaxalag full-on grasping of hip-hop on 2000's 1956 looked like a chameleonic, Bowie-esque move, with this year's cacophonic-free-form-noise-rap release, 1958, he has the lead on all his peers and can now safely look over his shoulder at the other cut-up figures behind him: namely Prefuse 73 and Arrhythmia.
This could be a new genre: himp-hoxp. Definitely manic, and definitely sample-heavy (though it's hard to tell where what is coming from), the duo of Galaxy and Slo-Ro have created something so esoterically dense that each listen is like reading the first page of a Pynchon-thick novel. While this alone would seem like a prerequisite for a double-digit score, the fact is that it is simply too bizarre and overwhelming for even the most masochistic-experimental-music loving listeners. Nevertheless, those with the colon to sit through it ten times will hear the future of jazz and the future of hip-hop collide like nitric acid and soap.
Musically, Galaxy and Slo-Ro tinge 1958 with avant-jazz - thanks to the help of semi-big namers Greg Kelley and Daniel Carter. The former emanates noises from his trumpet that would make Merzbow proud; the latter contributes similarly discombobulating, unconventional and most-likely manipulated sound from his flutes and alto sax on the almost wistful sounding "Long of Tooth." The record’s swirling melange of crashing samples and live sounds supposedly captures the dementia of the band’s live show, which often includes Galaxy dressed in a frog costume and Slo-Ro bordered up in large quantities of cardboard.
Self described as optimistic "sword-in-mouth Jesus love," Galaxy and co. are just as maniacal with their sloughed off rhymes as their rainbow rhythms. Close listening reveals undeniable Holy Ghost ravings, such as those on the most lyrically blatant and straightforward track, "The Nerve & Gall," where Galaxy raps, "Throw out the yeast of traditional religious pomp and get to the mustard seed which is the kingdom of God." Elsewhere, fellow Junker, Slo-Ro, brings a so-bad-its-good flow to the record. One can't help but grin when he raps, in his awkward Caucasian intonation, "Commemorative gas station football glass giveaways don't compare to the novelty of my kitsch sandwich stowaways." Guests Kid Nasty Pup and Bizzart give equally brilliant and confounding raps. Kid Nasty on "Mesa Dixie": "Negativity is for suckers / Virginia is for lovers / Meaty sandwiches from Scranton Pennsylvania are called Hoagies / Wanna hear something about Obi-Wan Kenobi?"
Though it's not all non-linear, stream-of-unconsciousness. Galaxy can be heard making both astute, witty one-liners ("I'm in the number two lane trying to merge with 39 inch tires"), Christ-influenced faith-statements ("Someone had a little lamb / Mine was slain"), and vague war support "The Babylonians going down hard / And it's refreshing"; "The scribes got Iraq by the door.")
Those afraid of the Christian content should really just chew their tongue. There are very, very few artists such as Galaxy who eschew the Switchfoot path and beat their own, leaving behind all the "forward-thinking" secularists. This is a religious record like One Word Extinguisher is a break-up record. This is what secularists complain Christian artists don't make enough of. Well, here it is. To quote Galaxy, "We anticipate lion-feedings so we dish it up noisy...." If you want to hear vacuous entertainment, there is surely a black album at your clutches; if you want something a bit more colorful, draw with this.
Reviewed by: Gentry Boeckel
Reviewed on: 2003-12-10