Lately, i've had a moment of epiphany while listening to an album that for the majority of people will be nothing more than a passing soundtrack to their daily mundanity. I had this moment of clarity while listening to the latest Jay-z and Kanye West album "Watch The Throne". I can already see some of you snarking. Well, you condescending dorks, take a deep breathe and listen. While the public figures of Jay-Z and Kanye are probably getting very close to Borderline parody or just sheer annoyance, their music shows intelligence and creativty.
I have never been a hip hop fan and i am still bored to tears when i hear traditional hip hop. While the posturing can be done well, the track has to have something special going on. That works for any type of music, but i noticed that in some genre people tend tyo be more forgiving than others. Hip Hop tends to be accepted even if it is completely devoid of ideas, same as pop and singer-songwriter music. Most of the audience just wants to hear something that fullfills the basic needs, gives a few catchphrases, has ONE good hook on the entire album or simply has enough attitude to bear the lack of magic. We can take a Bon Iver, cause he pretends to be cool enough to hide the fact that he doesnt really have that much talent.
Still, once in a while, there's a band that defies the limit of its genre and destroys categorization. Or in simpler words, reminds you that great music has no limits and can give you emotion, whether you like it or not. "Watch the throne" reminded me this, with its flowing, tasteful beats and great melodies. And then i went back to the shiny genius that is 4 Hero.
I was introduced to 4 Hero in the nineties, by one of those guys that you end up knowing sometimes in your life and seem to have the most incredible taste for music, movies or anything and make you discover things that change your mind forever. The guys that are there when no one else is and give you the gift of true mind melting music.
When i first head their other groundbraking album, "Two Pages", they were almost too "out there" for me to get. Two guys, with an eclectic bunch of guests, that tooks the shapeless, ebullient matter that is black music, from jazz to soul, through funk, added it to the modern possiblities of sampling and electronic decosntruction and made something new. Something new that sounded like nothing else but still was completely devoted to the classic Motown Sound.
And the later "play with the changes" is even more powerful. Listen to the opener "Morning Child" with its old time orchstration, its smooth melodies, the special vibe of it all, the way it uses sound to get under your skin and speak to your heart and brain....
The album has polarized the experts and made me fall in love. Proof that "experts" are cunts. Dig it and discover a world that has no name.
Take a Bite