Bi-Conicals Of The Ramm:Ell:Zee
ould “bi-conicals” be translated as Twin Peaks? This is some bizarre shit. What first appears to be an Afrika Bambata meets backpacker hybrid turns out upon further inspection to be a small piece in a massive transversive puzzle of total art. The Ramm:Ell:Zee has created for himself a completely self-sustaining universe made of paintings, comic books, installations, interpretive dance, elaborate costumes, films, model cars, record albums, half sensible quasi-academic treatises. Here’s a sample: A title concerning a new twist on the old mythologies and religions. It explains through the form of “INTELLECTUAL HORRORS” the reasons for its intellectual existence as a statement for the warning set by the prophets of the “Macrocosmic” and the “Microcosmic.” Which tales can only be told by the RAMM:ELL:ZEE. A performer of “Grimms Law,” “Ikonoklast Letters Racerism” (TANKS) which are forms of illuminations that aeronautically and aerodynamically weapon-slave the Letters A thru Z. That’s the beginning of the introduction. The rest (and a whole lot more) can be found at www.gothicfuturism.com. If you’re tired some night go there, and peer in Ramm:Ell:Zee’s spiraling garbage art cathedral. You’ll be amused and then go to sleep.
Yet today it is my task to interpret and criticize what’s in one tier, in one room, on one shelf, on one compact disc of the aforementioned construction. Like I was saying before, musically it is Afrika Bambata with the bass kicked up using contemporary production techniques for additional neck bending capabilities. Ramm:Ell:Zee raps over this is a deep, processed, almost cookie monster style. His delivery is slow and bombastic. As you can see from the text above, he enjoys comical faux-intellectualism, preferring multi-syllable, above fourteen-year-old reading level words, and in this way, the backpacker tag could be applied. Cheesy, outlandish samples are looped with such blatant tastelessness that they transcend themselves and are palatable (e.g. the duly named “Cheesy Lipstick”). Vibes of old school hip-hop conjure themselves on the best tracks. “Do We Have to Show a Resume?,” the opener, does just this with jubilant horns. Also found here are some of the album’s more intellectually interesting and comprehensible lyrics. During “Resume?,” he calls attention to the fact his deliberate rearrangement of syntax startles and hopefully restructures your psyche. This is some sort of double helix of self-referentiality that most likely cancels its own stated intention. Put forth as well is the notion that women participating in pornography are contributing to the nullification of their own existence. A debatable point, yet a feminist perspective rarely heard on a rap album.
After the first four or five tracks though the music loses energy and focus. Ironic, fun drum programming becomes bad, grooveless drum programming. Low end boogie elements give way to emphasis on sci-fi electro effects. Cable access art that is garbage, as opposed to stylized garbage art, is what we are left with. The lyrics are so labyrinthine that without a funky beat the songs become little more than someone reading from a comic book with his voice time stretched. Sometimes songs with a propulsive rhythm are emasculated by nonsense lyrics, like “Quack” which eventually reducing itself to, yes, quacking. Totally out of place is a normal old school track “Pay the Rent” which is nice enough by it’s own merit, but it’s stuck right in the middle of an episode of solipsistic Derrida Star Trek and therefore just doesn’t click.
Even with these flaws, Ramm:Ell:Zee’s vision (though not necessarily his music) has enough focus to produce an absurd, funny, intellectual album. What more can we ask for in a world of pollution, violence, and seemingly illimitable greed and carelessness? I can’t help but to admire anyone with enough tenacity weave a life’s work as a defense to horrors of life. Bi-Conicals could be interpreted as merely a pleasant distraction, or as evidence that there is hope: The artist has remained non-emotional since the beginning in describing this mythology and/or “STOCK” FUTURES due to the militancy of the subject and its potential to not contradict, but offer to the futurists and you, a horrific scientific view of the Transversus (universe) as a womb reversed from micro to macro. And the birth of an “ODDS GOD.” The multiple personalities of the equation THE RAMM:ELL:ZEE performs for science. If this knowledge scares you the equation is working. You decide.
Reviewed by: Bryan Neil Jones
Reviewed on: 2004-03-08