Sunday, February 13, 2011
IV the Polymath "Push IVward EP"
I love well down instrumental, in this case MOSTLY instrumental (final 2 tracks have MCs,) projects. Don't get me wrong, I also love MC heavy albums, but instrumental albums have a special place for me and I think it is because it really fuses the hip hop and jazz sounds that I enjoy so much. IV the Polymath's "Push IVward EP" is an album where you can turn out the lights, lay down, put on your headphones and just zone out as you turn up the volume. It doesn't have any club bangers ("Set Backs" being the closest thing) it is just good solid instrumentals (with that tape cassette feel) that does what all great music should do...speaks to you and hits you in your soul. Enough of my ranting, let us get into the details, here we go.
"Let Me Be Your Tour Guide" starts with some calm hi-hats, a single keyboard note, and an occasional bass drum, before the bass guitar and what I like to call funk claps join the party. Before you know it, more and more instruments join and at various tempos to create one pretty dope modern funk (as Dam-Funk would call it) track. It seems to take you away from where you are and sets you floating into the ethereal space surrounding us.
Pianos and bass dominate "Suckerpunch" before the drums take over and you feel like you're getting, well sucker punched by them, but in the most pleasant way possible. Because it is hitting you in your inner-being, really jarring and keeping you grounded so you don't get lost as the other instruments try to lift you up and out of this dimension. And no I will not apologize for sounding this way, because that is what this music makes me feel like.
Keeping it minimal, "Push IVward" begins with just a piano until scratches, trumpet, and drums enter the equation. For the first time we hear vocals on this album, the words "Listen Closely," and IV the Polymath demands you to do just as he adds a wobbly angelic voice and flutes while keeping the drums and dropping out the other instruments at apparently random intervals (but of course nothing is random, there is always a pattern if you dig deep enough.) The voice returns and asks "Are You Listening" and you better be because their are a few more surprises before this track's journey comes to an end.
"26" is probably the most disorienting songs of the album (especially while listening with headphones) it seems IV the Polymath plays around with how the instruments are played through each channel, at times making you feel like the music is passing through your head. He wastes no time adding unusual sounds on top of other sounds, to force you to close your eyes so you can focus, but all that does is add the the feeling of weightlessness as you go onto another plane of existence. Except of course for the drums...ah the drums they keep you near so you cannot get too far away, not quite anchored but more tethered letting you wander but never really escape.
Harps and faders. That is how "Shift" begins before the gently drum beats start and grow a little heavier, making sure you bob your head a bit and just as you relax you are hit with a great baseline that goes right to your toes or legs and gets those bouncing. Sprinkled throughout there is a piano, sax, and chimes, all used so you do not get too comfortable and content with the music. IV the Polymath wants you to relax and zone a bit but not too the point where you stop listening and get lazy ears.
The first of two vocalists on the album, Junclassic, appear on "Set Backs" a beat with with a looping piano and some nice snare drums (as well as your expected unexpected additions here and there.) If there was a track to listen to while driving in your car with the windows down this is the one. While Junclassic talks about the problems we can encounter in life, he keeps it positive by telling us to keep our eyes open for what may be coming, no matter what life throws at us we can handle it and overcome any obstacle.
"Day & Nights" with its keyboards, drums, and vocals by Jondis end this EP. Jondis discusses the cyclical feeling of life and our journey of discovery and rediscovery "Where we going, way beyond where we're at, when we get there, feeling like we've always been here." The track is incredibly laid back and relaxed, creating a feeling of familiarity and comfort.
In reality that is the general feeling of the entire project, familiarity and comfort, but at the same time the constant struggling of where to go. Should we let ourselves just float away and experience the other worlds that are all around us, or should we concentrate on the world and place we are now. Isn't that what life really is all about, taking care of the here and now, but not being afraid to go off and experience what else is out there without the constant fear that so many of us feel on an everyday basis. IV the Polymath created a short (under 25 minute) project that really covers human existence and if you let it, will take you places that only really great music can do and cause you to examine yourself in the process.
Stream and download the album here please note that 10% of all money will go to St. Jude's Hospital one of the best charities out there, so if you like please give open your wallets a bit.