Spencer Stephenson of Botony and Raj Haldar of Lushlife were a natural fit. As individual artists, they’ve already explored the fusion of underground hip-hop and psych – though these two have explored pretty much everything. Stephenson is a true tinkerer, combining hip-hop, eastern music, trip-hop, and most things in between to mine exciting new textures. Halder is a serial collaborator, fluidly riding beats by indie rock bands and classic beatmakers. With ‘The Skull Eclipses’, they find new focus. Their debut as a duo is a dark, mood-oriented collaboration that hides depth beneath a woozy layer of reverb.
The production is thick but full of purpose. ‘All Fall’ is a sturdy introduction. Booming drums, resonant bass and slick hand claps make for a strong backbone for Halder to rhyme over. The thick effects could swallow up a lesser MC, but his dexterous verses use internal rhymes and staccato quips to stand out. On ‘Encyclopaedia’, a coiling chorus cuts through a sour, whirring beat. It’s exciting to hear a duo bold enough to include dissonant elements with confidence that the songs will shine through the murk.
The project is a celebration of art-rap charisma. Open Mike Eagle pops up for a typically quotable verse on ‘Gone’ (“…wonder which republicans know what a republic is”) while the less vocal Shabazz Palaces member, Baba Maraire, delivers a joyous sung vocal on ‘Pillars’.
Given how much the project pulls from 2011’s ‘Black-Up’ it’s not the freshest collection, but the potential and cohesion will excite many underground rap fans.
Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines
As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.
Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.
If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.
It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.