By Michael O’Shea
“Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” K-the-I???’s latest release due out November 7, starts off with a burst of exploding beats clanking over a soundscape of surreality, setting the tone for the rest of what’s to come. K-the-I???’s rhymes seem to be spit from the top of the tower of babble straight onto the heads of unwitting tourists parading the streets in between the folds of his grey matter. The cosmic spew unintelligibly makes sense deep down in the Dadaist corner of your psyche.
“Were you able to finally figure it out?/I doubt you even know what I’m talking about” declares K-the-I??? in “Decisions.” As if it weren’t already inhabiting a realm outside the standard hip-hop fare, the song “Cell-Shaded/Daydreams/Nightmares” is a torrent of esotericism organized in semiotic absurdity. “What did I order?/Maybe an extra shipment of brain cells shaded in polyocular capacitors,” to give you a taste.
The delivery is sent rapidly–first class–the beats behind like the clatter of the linguistic package banging around in the back of a UPS truck, a bumping cut-time clatter of electronic blips that byte at your lobes (both ear and brain, type).
The tracks come and go in a whirlwind, the average length being just under three minutes. The 14 dense tracks are far too compressed to seem short, though. Rather, the intensity and speed with which they hit you leaves you exhausted, in a post-catharsis sense.
K-the-I???’s second full-length release on Mush Records features dynamic appearances by major players in the underground hip-hop scene. Nocando, Vyle, Subtitle (Thavius’ partner-in-crime in their Lab Waste project), High Priest, Mestizo and label-mate Busdriver all find their way onto this album. All production is done by fellow Mush artist Thavius Beck, who makes an especially enjoyable vocal appearance on the track “Marathon Man.”
This track begins with a sample of what sounds like a children’s show narrator warning “Your journey will be filled with danger/Yes, evil will try to stop you/but if you believe you can do it.”
Thavius begins, “Here’s an artifact from modern artists pre-apocalypse/shit to stimulate your conscious state and shake the continents…Sound is a conduit, one speaks and one responds to it/if the signal fluctuates you can identify it as fraudulent/merely an imitation of the prominent percussion-based philosophy.”
Thavius is a busy man these days, spreading around his particular brand of percussion-based philosophy far and wide. Having recently worked on Saul Williams’ latest release, remixing Nine Inch Nails’ “Survivalism” and producing the entire K-the-I??? album, he is also completing work on his third solo-release for Mush Records due out in March.
K-the-I???’s relocation from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Los Angeles for this album seems to have been well-worth it in terms of the results. The boundary-pushing release most definitely deserves a careful listen. The album is due out on Mush Records (www.mush.com) on November 7 in the US, so be sure to pick up a copy. You won’t be disappointed. K-the-I???’s MySpace also has some tracks from the album up already, so you can preview a few there at www.myspace.com/kthei. K-the-I??? will be touring Europe with Thavius in February to support the release.
In other news, WCU Student Media will be hosting producer extraordinaire Thavius Beck in February for an Electronic Music Production workshop. Look for more info on that appearance in later editions of the Western Carolinian.