Antipop Consortium – Fluorescent Black (Big Dada) 2LP
The power that received opinion continues to have over music criticism is really incredible. You’d think the Internet would have caused unconventional and iconoclastic viewpoints to proliferate. In fact, the Web has merely provided more efficient ways for narrow-minded dogmas to gain utter hegemony over the critical discourse. The major print publications and Web portals can pigeonhole an artist on Monday and by the end of the week, the whole blogosphere is parroting the party line.
This is more than mere consensus building – it’s the reconfiguration of musical reality from the ground up. Case in point: post-rap pioneers Antipop Consortium. Over the course of two albums, APC proved themselves to be one of the most inventive, exciting and downright funny groups working in any genre. But because of their association with experimental music and the deathly unfashionable indie rap movement of the early ’00s, APC have found themselves universally branded as po-faced pedallers of fun-free obscuritanism.
Here’s where the reconfiguration of reality comes in. Just about anything you’ll read about APC will tell you that their songs don’t have hooks. In fact, at least half of their tracks have choruses that range from pretty catchy to maddeningly memorable. Perhaps that’s what you get for calling yourselves “Antipop Consortium”. Still, this case really goes to show how people will toe the critical line in the face of massive contradictory evidence.
Antipop called it a day six years ago. The crew’s individual members went on to pursue a range of rather unsatisfactory projects before deciding to reform a year-or-so ago. The upshot of this most welcome reformation is APC’s third album, Fluorescent Black. So is the magic still there?
Well Fluorescent Black is certainly Antipop’s weakest full-length. It’s a sprawling, uneven affair that can’t decide whether to settle on the spooky experimentalism of Tragic Epilogue or the avant-party vibe of Arrhythmia. It contains some pretty major misfires too, including a few highly jarring bursts of heavy rock instrumentation and a slightly embarrassing cameo from Roots Manuva – who just can’t keep up with Beans, Sayyid and Priest’s galloping rhyme-flows.
But when Fluorescent Black is good, man is it ever great! On the whole, it works best when going way out on a limb. The descriptively named “Timpani” consists of little more a kettle drum loop, a few dark atmospherics and some seriously munted vocal samples. Oh and an italo disco outro. “Get Lite”, meanwhile, is based around some dizzying synth arrpeggios and more-than-usually breathless rhyming. It’ll make you lite headed.
Antipop’s LPs tend to be growers. Fluorescent Black could easily end up being one of the albums of the year. Don’t listen to the critical consensus, this is some serious fun!
Fluorescent Black will be released by Big Dada on September 29th.