This EP has taken a tremendous amount of time effort and money. It's free for download however, if you feel like throwing some coin my way, i'm not going to say no! Nevertheless, first and foremost this release is intended for the listener to be able to access this free.
For another review by Sy Shackleford visit www.rapreviews.com/archive/2015_04_scotopic.html
EP REVIEW by Aritro Abedin
Scotopic's self-titled debut is a an eclectic collection, gritty to its core, but with a stylistic variation that sees it perform a dizzying bounce between dark, deeply urban soundscapes and stripped back minimalism. There are touches of the atmospheric haziness which typified so much of the Cypress Hill sound, as well as shades of GZA's eerie masterpiece “Liquid Swords”. A posse of emcees from around oz lend their rhymes to this project, contributing a powerful and richly introspective palette of lyrical hues that enliven this record's brooding backdrop.
“Doom-a-dap” kicks the EP off with a military march as Toddy Darko rhapsodises on the commodification of hip hop with a refrain-laden rhyming style that laments the spectre of “hipsters wearing Wu”. “Concrete Sasquatch” has a cinematic ambiance that evokes the score of horror a film, replete with piercing loops and a haunting sensibility. This track sees Toddy Darko in autobiographical mode, spitting rhymes about homelessness and the trials of life. In the sequence “rap the best/live life like a bum/got me goin' back to verses of KRS-ONE", he reflects on the parallels between his own back-story and that of one of hip hop's luminaries.
The beat to “All The Same” unfurls in shrill bursts and escalates before a dissonant closing. The emcee One Sixth muses on individual responsibility and people's tendency to deflect blame for their own failings by blaming society instead. He inverts that particular paradigm by rapping from the perspective of “Society”, and mirroring the people's sentiments back to them as if to say “I am a product of all of you!”. In this way, he highlights the irony of individuals conferring blame on society for their flaws given that society, by its intrinsic nature, is the collective aggregation of those individuals. His rhymes allude to avarice and materialism, lamenting “the messages of peace are drowned out by the sex that's on the screens/they're selling to the priests/then they turn around and sell Jesus/what the hell are we expected to believe?". Scotopic's beat is an outstanding achievement in sonic symbolism.
The kick drums represent the steady march of the elite 1% who pull the world's strings while the snare sounds act as an aural representation of the government slapping the law unto the people. The high-hats strain and struggle to maintain the rhythm in imitation of the working class's struggle to keep pace with a changing society. And the clicks, barely audible in the soundscape, serve as a whispered homage to those who live below the poverty line, their voices rarely heard. Scotopic's concept is laid out by One Sixth in one memorable stanza; "You can sense it in the beat/the hats are just a tad above the clicks/snared by the people pulling strings fo kicks/It's the grand design that defies logic/20-20 darkness/Adjust to the Scotopic."
“Depression” is the most contemplative track in this collection, and LSD, Cheap Sober and Mic info Wise explore themes of anger and despair to Scotopic's gently chiming rhythm. The scratch-heavy distortion of “Interlude” gives way to “Hidden”, a lush, jazzrap gem which serves as 'chill time' after the assault in the album's first half. Ezekiel, Kwasi Bee contributes a paradoxical last verse rapping from the perspective of a character committing suicide on train tracks, his cheerful delivery matching the chill-time beat and dripping with dark irony.
Struggle kicks off with the Arabesque loop which forms the track's motif as Toddy Darko gets introspective and revisits his personal struggle with a searing volley of images and one-liners. He makes another appearance alongside Mic Wise on “Read Between The Lines” , their rhymes seething and heavy with pathos over Scotopic's ding-donging beat, which hangs ominous like a ringing grandfather clock in the backdrop.
This is an outstanding debut, light on filler and heavy on substance. Scotopic demonstrates an assured hand, deft in his use of samples and blessed with a gift for creating arrangements which evoke a mood without spilling over into overstatement. The EP showcases the versatile ouvre of a talented producer in the nascent stages of what should be an interesting career.
Written by Aritro Abedin