Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide Music Album Reviews

Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide Music Album Reviews
On his new album, the verbose rapper’s fascination with creatures widens into a cosmology, resulting in the most joyous album he’s ever made. 

Aesop Rock loves critters. Since his conscious turn toward storytelling on None Shall Pass, he’s become quite the zoologist, using pigs, crows, and his pet cat, among other animals, as muses. His fixation runs so deep that when he isn’t observing creatures directly, they’re still in his peripheral vision: He partners with Homeboy Sandman as Lice; his second album with longtime collaborator Rob Sonic was titled Beastiary; a Dali-esque dinosaur skeleton graces the cover of Skelethon. On Spirit World Field Guide, this fascination with creatures widens into a cosmology. Animals no longer play bit parts in Aesop Rock’s intricate tapestries; they are the omphalos, a turn that leans into Aesop’s wearied misanthropy and softens it. This is the most joyous album he’s ever made.
Presented as a travelogue of the “spirit world,” a realm composed of occult and biological oddities, Spirit World Field Guide flips Aesop’s trademark anxiety on its head. Instead of retreating into his addled, overactive brain, he plunges into the “unwavering otherness” of the spirit world like an intrepid adventurer. His observations from the alternate planes of existence are surreal and psychedelic, from the “billion bats exploding out a mountain cave” on “Sleeper Car” to the loyal tentacles “in every corner of heck” on “Holy Waterfall.” Rapped with verve, every detail is delivered with a lysergic pop or an eldritch crackle, animals and action verbs smashed together like chimeras. Aesop has always been a vivid and imagistic rapper, but here his writing brims with wonder. “I leave an awkward conversation like a cow to the saucer/Inspire a thousand Our Fathers, people start calling their priests/ “We’ve never seen a man so vehemently drawn to the beast!” he says with a wink on “Crystal Sword.”

One of his favorite life forms is himself, whom he renders with morbid clarity. Alongside Ishmael Butler and Kool Keith, Aesop is one of the few veteran rappers for whom aging is an experience and not a challenge. Instead of fighting his mortality, he dissects it. “1 to 10,” an ode to his ailing back, features the darkly humorous and human bar, “Rate your pain level on a scale from 1 to 10/I said “‘Well, doc I tell ya, it feel like I lost a friend.’” If you can't relate to that line now, you will. “Dog at the Door” is a tug-o-war between paranoia and composure, both emotions making his imagination run wild as he tries to identify an unexpected noise outside his house. “Maybe it’s a trap,” he repeats as his lineup of suspects grows more elaborate. He sounds like the spooked geezer he knows himself to be.

Sometimes the pain doesn’t warrant a punchline. “Faking normal has worn me down,” he raps with weariness on “Boot Soup,” one of many moments where he lifts the curtain. “I shouldn’t even be here,” he assesses on “Kodokushi,” the Japanese word for the grim phenomenon of dead people being discovered long after their time of death. These blips of candor lack the emotional punch of similar moments on The Impossible Kid, where Aesop would build to and wind into his disclosures rather than shunt them into one-liners and asides. But even in passing, these confessions convey the heavy undertow of Aesop’s vision quest. His survey of the spirit world is clearly in service of enduring the flesh. In animals he seems to spy an undaunted sense of purpose. “A rat’s a rat/It scatters/That’s like it’s magic power,” he says with admiration on “Salt.”

Producing has recently become Aesop’s second magic power. He’s been a producer as long as he’s been a rapper, contributing beats to all his records, and producing his last two records in full. Although aesthetically Spirit World Field Guide draws on his standard mix of electric guitar, laser synths, and crisp drums, he’s never before been such a commanding presence behind the boards. The beats here are the best of his career, full of torque and life. “Attaboy” flickers between squelchy boom bap and leisurely funk. The scuzzy guitar chords on “Gauze” rev up Aesop’s flows. The goofy, percolating wub-wub on “Crystal Sword” accents his RPG-inspired misadventures. These zany backdrops amplify his writing, selling the complete otherness of the spirit world.

Spirit World Field Guide wears its concept loosely. As seen on Miss Anthropocene, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, and There is No Year, music about death and oblivion is often macroscopic, zooming out into a birds-eye view. Aesop does the inverse, sticking his head into the soil like an ostrich and conversing with the bugs and roots. His bizarro yarns are certainly eccentric and meticulous, but they’re always anchored by his fascination with the material and tactile: old, decaying bodies; gross smells; odd aches. By presenting the great beyond as a marvel rather than a horror, he makes it less unwieldy, and perhaps even appealing. “Why am I here if it isn’t effectively cutting the hellions out of me, huh?” he asks on “Gauze.” He’s talking about the real world.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide Music Album Reviews Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, November 21, 2020 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment