30 August 2013

Bliss 'n' Eso - Circus in the Sky

Another not alternative rock review from Pete.  Trying desperately to show that his music taste is at least a little eclectic.  He really likes the new Bliss 'n' Eso album, Circus in the Sky though.

And now, he shall stop talking about himself in the third person.
Bliss 'n' Eso are a Hip Hop act from Australia.  Stop rolling your eyes.  They are not wiggas, or lame ass white boys trying to rap with a can of Foster's.  They're multi-platinum, award winning, and have been rapping together since high school, when Hip Hop in Australia didn't exist.
They're made up of American MC Jonathan Notley (Bliss, who moved to Australia aged 13), Australian MC Max MacKinnon (Eso) and Tarik Ejjamai (DJ Izm).
Circus in the Sky is the group's 5th album.  It went straight to #1 in the Australian albums chart, and only Daft Punk have sold more albums in Oz this year.
The album's amazing.  I always struggle when listening to decent rap music, because lyrics are crammed into each track.  There's so much going on, with scratching, samples, awesome rock beats and meaningful, poetic lyrics.  When rap is done well, this is what it sounds like.
What I like about Bliss 'n' Eso is this; their lyrics are political, and they're about unity.  They rap for the love of music, togetherness and chilling out.  It's not all about blunts, 40s and bitches (although there's plenty of that too).
I think I appreciate this musically more than I do lyrically, in the sense that every time I've listened I've been pretty chilled out and it's provided the perfect soundtrack.  It feels almost cosmic, especially on the lovely 'Next Frontier'.  Yes, I described a hip-hop track as "lovely".
Collaborations?  We have those too!  'I Am Somebody' features Nas, while the unity I mentioned earlier shines through on 'Resevoir Dogs', which features the elite in Aussie hip-hop (360, Pez, Seth Sentry & Drapht)   .  None of them try to out-do each other, it's just awesome.  It also features a nice sample from internet famous Sweet Brown:
"ain't nobody got time fo' dat!"
Daniel Merriweather's on the album too.  I've heard of him!
If I'm gonna pick out the album's weak points, it's 'My Life' and 'I Feel Free'.  Those are the weaker moments, possibly because, musically, they just ain't very hip-hop.  But maybe that's a good thing.  It gives the album diversity.  Standout tracks, for me, are 'Animal Kingdom' and 'Resevoir Dogs'.
The chilled out feeling remains right to the end on 'House of Dreams', but I love this lyrically too.  And I just noticed something.  These guys really love South Park.
Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.
8/10.  Oh, now you have my attention, and maybe my money, time and heart.

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