Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Through Crosshair Eyes LP - Carmen Finestra

Hear The Track Here

Here is another long time Soundclick artist trying on a new guise. Regular readers will probably remember me UK hip hop encounters with Newcastle based Stained Art (or Stain Online even). Sure, it's all a bit home produced but to my ears it sounds fresher than a lot of mass produced pap that stands for hip hop across the water. Stain is a young, intelligent rapper who knows what he wants to say and generally gets its said in as unfussy a way as possible. It's been a while since I've heard from him so it's nice to welcome him back with a whole new project to feast on. So, I might as well make an honest job of it right now and say that I wasn't that impressed with this track, and I most definitely wanted to be.

I've already mentioned the lo-fi element and that has become more noticable on this track than others, now maybe that's because this is a rough mix, in which case fair dos. If this is the final thing though, that could be enough to turn some people off. The real fly in the jam pot is the one thing hip hop demands more than anything else - a coherent, flowing rap. As I said, the UK has a long tradition of poets, and an even longer tradition of performance poets including (my own particular favourite) John Cooper Clarke whose Ou Est la Maison de Fromage? LP is a masterclass of the style. Stain (as a performance poet) has much in common with Cooper Clarke, the same dry, laconic Northern drawl although Stain carries - by far - the heavier subject matter. It's also one of the main reasons I've liked him so much in previous releases.

As a written piece of work, Carmen Finestra shows exactly what I am talking about. Try reading the page of lyrics first because they are well worth it. Best to take a cup of tea with you though because there is a LOT to take in. That same verbosity is also a problem in the way the rap flows, often sounding as if the words are being forced to fit. Although the chorus is carried only by one voice I can sure hear a kinda terrace-like refrain happening there, the kind of chorus that is bellowed at the top of everybodys lungs. The pluses did finally win me over to this track, and hey I'm probably the only one who would ever notice anyway. Again this artist shows great promise, now if only it could all get tightened up a bit...

Excellent, if flawed, UK hip hop with a difference. Recommended for the content and chorus.

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