Volume 94, Issue 62

Friday, January 12, 2000


London playwright wins Lottery

DJs spin for charity

Sad Rockets take off with new album

Maggie's more than crepes

The Friday Rant

Sad Rockets take off with new album

Various Artists
Rasco Presents 20,000 Leagues Under the Street Volume 1
Pockets Linted Entertainment

One of underground hip hop's finest, Rasco has decided to shatter the stereotypical image of hip hop's more obscure side with his collaboration album, 20,000 Leagues Under the Street.

The weak production/strong lyric stigma attached to many underground artists is demolished on this album. Though production credits go to relatively unknown beatmasters such as Oh No and KI2UM, the beats on this album can hang with those created by better known producers.

The album's lineup is exellent. It should come as no surprise that Rasco's partner in rhyme, Planet Asia, has his say. The pair team up for the song "On the Hustle," which is definitely one of the album's best tracks. Other underground notables are Zion I, Encore and Likwit Crew member Phil Da Agony, whose constant punchlines grace one of the most ridiculous beats on the album. Another track worth mentioning is Saafir's "Skanless," a successful combination of his distinctive voice and old school-flavoured grooves.

The weakest track is Grouch's "Brain Stormin." He has some good things to say but he changes subject at a rate so fractured that the average listener will lose patience with the track. Another fault with 20,000 Leagues Under The Street is that it's simply too short. The inclusion of some extra tracks would increase this album's overall appeal.

Although the emcees on this album are the type who tend to be appreciated by those who frequent late night college radio shows, the tracks on this album show they can definitely be vibed by all.

–Thandiwe Klass

Sad Rockets
Matador Records

This is the soundtrack of Andrew Pekler's life.

Sad Rockets creates a sonic mixture of fine instrumental music. Pekler concocts captivating, atmospheric music spanning an array of styles and by playing nearly every instrument on the album.

On Transition, the mood is set early with the pulsating backbeat and thumping bass of "Senio Julio." "Heavy Meta" pushes the tempo with power chords and a James Bond-like theme. The middle portion of Transition moves into a more laid-back soul and funk vibe.

The instrumental variety keeps the record from becoming stagnant. Unlike many other trip-hop records, the strong presence of the drum and bass do not distract from the lead lines and other sounds. "Twenty-six" is a jazz-inspired track featuring a dominant piano, while "Winter's Over" opens with a fingerstyle acoustic guitar.

Pekler ends the album with a fitting farewell. "Twenty-Seven" begins by creating a sombre mood before breaking into a brief take on the Marshall Tucker Band's classic rock tune, "Can't You See," a rather surprising musical quote from a multi-instrumentalist and composer not afraid to defy musical boundaries.

This soundtrack of Pekler's life is well worth the listen, though. Unfortunately, like many movies, it is a little too lengthy for its own good.

–Zach Peterson

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