Konnichiwa, the 2016 instant hit was a cultural phenomenon that bridged the gap between American rap and the British grime from the streets to the clubs. Skepta is a walking grease “greaze” gun in this case with witty lyrical ability, an outstanding and recognizable producing credit, and an approachable smirk to his newest record Ignorance Is Bliss.
Each track as it floods beginning with either “Bullet From A Gun” to the last track that was the previously released “Pure Water” single, Skepta finds a perfect balance between the hard body performances that make mosh pits and bouncing occur. To the introverted reflections where Skepta is more of a descriptive narrator toward his own outlook on the record. Here, Ignorance Is Bliss was on the backburner for any fan that quickly bumped Skepta up to a top spot in their playlists, always watching to see what was next for the London born rhymer and artist.
Visually stimulating from the vivid, 3×3 thermal grid, each track acts as a piece of this overarching method where Skepta holds the keys behind its truth. Each photograph is a different mood of Ignorance Is Bliss where “Redrum” is the first track that acts as a tank shell in the mix. The hook is a right-hand slap to the eye where Skepta explains, “If I pull up on the strip, it’s murder. Pull up in the whip, it’s murder. Pull up on your chick, it’s murder. Pull up with a stick, it’s murder.” There is this boosting 808 that marks iconic grime styles of production that can tightrope between the synthetic instruments and the bold vocals from both Skepta and KEY!. As the verses begin to trade off, it is apparent that Ignorance Is Bliss will hold some sense of teeth baring.
However, on the opening track “Bullet From A Gun” where the production is a floating and almost watery organization, Skepta rhymes to become less aggressive and more of a tragic hero. “Like a bullet from a gun it burns, when you realize she was never your girl it was just your turn,” describes Skepta in this illustrative and almost shattered opening. He is both hopeful but also relatively similar to his opening on Konnichiwa where he both discusses the success he has seen, but also the immense pain that hits and comes with that life outside of camera flashes. Alternatively, he finally describes, “you got to face your demons don’t matter how much money you earn… The same old story, the world spins ‘round and ‘round fam, lessons have to get learned.”
In another piece, Skepta uses the track “Animal Instinct” to flex for one last time with one of the best bass drops and longest running rhyming teases since “Shoota” by Playboi Carti. Where he stirs up the lines, “But I’m in Paris with the goons, I should take a selfie and go and hang it in the Louvre. And that’s why they wanna start beef, cause the gang came in lookin’ like an art piece, made your wifey skip a heartbeat.” Always ready to go to war with words and perhaps pistols too, Skepta capitalizes on what makes his character so engaging on Ignorance Is Bliss.
Sculpting a world of once sand castles to now marble statues in the courtyard, Skepta is a cultural beast that moves his own pace in a blacked-out tinted Spitfire. As Ignorance Is Bliss becomes this internal war that hits both mountains and valleys, Skepta reminds his audience why he is flying SK Air.
In the misty morning where those iconic chords can still be heard ringing, Led Zeppelin formed their fifth studio record Houses of the Holy with an inevitable movement toward sophistication and adaptation. In one of the most consecutively banging records, Houses of the Holy is a supreme demonstration of the raw talent, innovation, and ability through writing.
The physicality of a Zeppelin record is almost transplanetary, stretching far beyond what can even be comprehended in a single listen. From the initial sounds, Houses of the Holy opens with “The Song Remains The Same” with an instantly crashing performance on the instrumentation before vocals ever grace the scene. With Jimmy Page as the head guitarist, John Paul Jones covers the bass and keyboards. Standing alongside him is John Bonham on the percussion, which then leaves Robert Plant to be the narrator through the often amber-burning journey.
Passionate, illustrative, and scientists of the craft, Led Zeppelin almost instantly invokes some sense of pride through their music. They can make a heavy rainfall feel less of a downer to a day and more of an uplifting experience. With the raging guitar solos thrown into the mix, the way that the drums become iconic through each track, and just how crafty the bass work is; Houses of the Holy is a stacked line-up for conscious potentiality. With every track, the bleeding factor of skill comes with the aptitude of the writing and ultimate prowess for wanting to produce.
From “The Crunge” or “Dancing Days”, from “Over The Hills and Far Away” to the masterfully manufactured “No Quarter”, Houses of the Holy is a masterpiece with little in room for improvement. The entire presentation is a stage act that relies entirely on an emotional draw from the fab-four. As Led Zeppelin reaches these almost impossible achievements through creation, “No Quarter” becomes this overwhelming warmth that gives chills from the first listen to the last. It is a gentle build that slowly adds more and more layering until everything comes crashing down in this train wreck of addictive resonation.
Not only are the lyrics engaging, but the way that Houses of the Holy shifts from being a rampant rock n’ roll animal to the then spaced out and mesmerizing. As expansion really plays a role, the real scope of Led Zeppelin changes with “No Quarter” at every passing. The low-tuned guitar that conflicts with Plant’s vocal approachability simply lights up the board and sets a humbling fire below the listener. The track is warm, growing, and eventually bursts to become something almost unrecognizable.
Houses of the Holy is a welcome introduction to the artistic endeavor that was Led Zeppelin. The band messes coherent sound while still pushing the boundaries to become pioneers in a land that was still light years behind. As everything falls into place, Houses of the Holy reigns on as a respectable master of hounds.
Listen Here – Soundcloud
Producers: IAMPISSED, Mutant Joe, Hi-C, Stimachine, Dream Beach, Raphy, Vamp Money, Tony Seltzer, Nedarb, A Lau, Ryan C, Trip Dixon, Pentagrvm, Fatherblaze, Acid Brain, Tobias, Terror, Bek, Kimu, Loko Los, Sayda, DeliverTheCrush
Featuring: GRiMM DOZA, Yung Mojo, Morgue!, YVNCC, Slim Poppins, DirtBagMarley, WIFIGAWD, SICKBOYRARI
As the clock turns systematically through these clamoring rings of cymbals and drained vocals, King Woman takes an inevitable march toward sonic damnation. Each step acts as tracks on their 2017 release Created in the Image of Suffering where screams into the void are placed to be artistically rewarding as their methods become dramatically refined in both high and lows.
King Woman has this everlasting truth behind their sound that dawns new life at every turn. The record is started by a digital exclusive, “Citios” where whispers grow by lead vocalist Kristina Esfandiari where she continually repeats “Created in the image of suffering” before static noise overtakes her voice to this whirl of mystery. Then as “Utopia” begins to stack the bricks of overarching and pulverizing dread, King Woman becomes less ethereal and more concrete. Esfandiari’s lyrical approach is still layered behind walls of apparitional views, but the instrumentation is punishing and physical.
They essentially tackle a continuous flow with Created in the Image of Suffering where each puzzle piece connects more than the last. As these pieces are beginning to congregate together and find a perfect balance of both tension building and rock solid reprieves, King Woman quickly climbs the ropes to become a centerfold of engagement. “Shame” is progressive in the way that the vocals act like siren songs which draw the listener in as the instrumentals are often wars within percussive stations. No barriers hold a grasp on Created in the Image of Suffering even as each track holds a familiar ground that is approachable even under such daunting weight.
Hitting all the major key points of being an arsonist’s wet dream, the fun of King Woman is seeing how they can balance all these monumental efforts into one tightly wrapped and clockwork-esque package. The tracks that King Woman decide to unleash as an arsenal become tarnished and undermined for just how gorgeous they actually are. On Created in the image of Suffering, there are immense amounts of dirt that cover the piece in grit and this thick soot. With that leftover material comes the blanketing of what stands out as a simply beautiful writing and instrumental manipulation.
One of the last tracks on the record showcases this synonymous dichotomy of gentle builds that leads to a bitter demise. “Manna” begins small, with only two noises coming from the vocals and reverb on the guitars before everything crashes together with a foundation of performance. The percussion is slowly added in until every single sound becomes utilized and finally transcribed into this grandioso of draining proportions.
Broken bones and materialization from darkness becomes King Woman with a black and white styled mantra that is minimalistic but still impressionable. Their work stands to crack walls, create undertows within their own world, and shatter impressions from the jump. As the body crumbles around them, Created in the Image of Suffering strains and fights for one last grace of sunlight against the harsh black they face.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directors: Skepta & Duncan Loudon
Exec Producer: Saskia Whinney
Production Company: Somesuch
Producers: Maddy Perkins & Aws Al-Jezairy
Exec Producer: Freddie Forsyth
Production Designer: James Hamilton
Construction: Paul Minderides
Construction: Chris Spurling
Construction: Oliver Bailey
DOP: Hunter Daly
Focus: Phil Heron
Camera Trainee: Ernie Griffiths
1st AD: Tom Wynbourne
Gaffer: Will Pope
Desk Op: Hudson Daly
Casting: Roxanne Farahmand
Costume Designer: Brydie Perkins & Nicole Vernon
Make-up: Cherise Currie
Post Producer: Oscar Wendt
Colourist: Luke Morrison & Quality Control
Post Production House: ETC Camera
Lighting Equipment: Panalux