ETHX – Boom To Bloom
It’s a rarity within the CC world to come across a new album, from an act you don’t know which does in fact have some star quality to it. Not that fame is any measure of quality of course, but discovering something with one third/half of Political/Alternative Hip-Hoppers ‘The Coup’ making some notable contributions still appeals at least a little to my sense of celeb stalking. Of course any notion of that would rely on you having heard of ‘The Coup’ in the first place, which I’m sure many didn’t, but seek out some of their stuff nonetheless; it should make for a worthwhile listen.
Anyway, to Boom To Bloom which comes from the renowned blocSonic net label/compilation people/all round free music bastion. It’s a healthy dose of cleanly produced Hip-Hop with an obvious inclination towards self-aware lyricism with a (not too forced) message behind it. The first thing to strike me on listening was the production quality which is, as should always be the case, really rather good with a coherent sense of self and beats which remain in balance with the MC’s efforts. As far as disproving the myth of free music being, on the whole, rather shoddy goes this album is a conclusive argument unto itself, leaving little room to doubt the technical talent and aesthetic sensibilities contained within our corner of the musical world. Praise indeed although not, perhaps, quite enough.
The construction of this album is nigh on perfect but for all the variety of contributing artists and evident talent they possess there still seems to be something missing. There’s certainly nothing to object to in this effort but by the same token it’s hard to get too caught by the sound. It’s good, it’s clean, it has that rare ring of quality to it but there’s a certain lack of passion behind it; possibly due to the penchant for RnB stylings which runs through out and which is incredibly hard to get right given the general sterility of that genre these days. Or perhaps the slightly apathetic listen is down to the lyrical aspects, which are… fine, really. Fine being the operative word though; even where peaks of aggression or feeling are reached it’s still a rather anonymous experience. I’ve heard this before, the thought processes behind this album are by no means new and whilst I wouldn’t say that their manifestation here is in anyway inferior to other, similar projects I still find it hard to build up any real sense of enthusiasm for it all. There’s a definite school of Alternative Hip-Hop lyricism which is being presented here and if you’ve paid any heed to the genre then chances are it’ll be a familiar one. A moderately harsh indictment I admit and it may well be the case that plenty of folks out there are still baying for this sort of thing, I’m just not sure that I’m one of them.
Anyway, to return to those polished beats briefly before coming to the end, well they’re more or less in the same position as the vocals, it’s all very fine and nice. I’m a little more tolerant of that on this level given that you could quite happily let this play in the background without ever losing patience with the production but then compared to others on the scene (Texture, Tab & Anitek, Damscray (vaguely)) you’re not going to be dragged into a truly immersive experience here.
To summarise though, certainly worth a download for genre fans and collectors but perhaps not one for the casual passer by, unless they want to use it to do some myth-bashing.