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Go to the Anti-Pop Consortium website  Anti-Pop Consortium - Arrhythmia [Warp - 2002]

The Anti-Pop Consortium has been constantly innovative since the shaping in 1997 under the credo "disturb the equilibrium". As an assault on both the commercialized hip hop and stagnant old school hip hop scene, the three emcees Beans, M Sayyid, High Priest and producer E. Blaize try hard to be different. They eventually signed with the 75 Ark label, releasing their critically acclaimed "Tragic Epilogue" album, but they really shocked the hip hop world by signing to Warp Records, the label known for "intelligent dance" acts as Aphex Twin, Autreche and Boards Of Canada. That this move was not entirely ridiculous was proved with the EP "The Ends Against The Middle". However, all-new "Arrhythmia" is the real debut album on Warp.

How renewing and refreshing is "Arrhythmia" really? Blaize's production is reminiscent of Warp's other artists, experimenting with the tribal beats, the ping-pong ball game, science fiction -alike bleeps, an opera singer (on "Mega"), and modern electronic touches. Yet E. Blaize doesn't forget to include the art of turntablism, the hip hop part. The normal formula of strong beats is there, but also are more funky and more accessible beats. Yes, the name suggests something else, but Anti-Pop Consortium can easily compete with successful commercial hip hop acts. The track "Ghostlawns" for example is an extraordinary good track, showing the best of both the accessible and the experimental side.

Let's not forget that APC are poets. Beans, M. Sayyid and High Priest have a powerful verbal agility, putting a lot of imagination, intelligence and wordplay in the rhymes that is hard to understand even for those who are able to cope with such an amount of metaphors. A lot of subjects are used, also outside the hip-hop scene, but they also return to the usual tale enlightening rap aesthetics, like on "Z St.". Overall, the MCs do try to rhyme different than straight old-school rap, which works out just like the album title implies. Take the "Ping Pong" track for example:

Watch the ball, watch the way I climb around your hall, walking up walls, sideways and I stall, throw the web on you all, back up with an u-haul, wreck your rep like eddie on the la strip with rupaul, yeah you got the gall, I'll put you in a shawl.

"Arrhythmia" is an admirable combination of hip hop and modern electronic music, although on some tracks it simply doesn't work out, like on the tracks "We Kill Soap Scum" and "Focused". I feel that there's more talent and potential in APC than what is showed on this album, so perhaps after the next album, maybe two albums, we can enjoy Anti-Pop Consortium to the full extent.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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