September 2nd, 2011
Title: Knives From Heaven
Label: Thirsty Ear
Format: CD, MP3
Release Date: June 2011
A fine performance by a super group, Knives From Heaven features the collaboration between experimental pianist Matthew Shipp, free-jazz double bassist William Parker, rapper Beans (a former member of legendary Antipop Consortium), and electronic musician Hprizm (a.k.a. High Priest). Together they create some of the most genre bending music you can imagine. The result is a free-jazz glitch-electronic hip hop album from the future.
To give the album’s sound some context, imagine John Coltrane writing and recording his album Meditations in the year 2050 using nothing but a midi keyboard, and you’ll get a sense of the aural pallet. This comparison is especially applicable to the tracks “Going To Another Place” and “Might Be,” which sound like a warehouse of broken machines beating drums in a syncopated fit of decadence.
Despite the seeming cacophony in many of the tracks, Knives From Heaven manages to entice the listeners to paint their own rhythms and melodies on a wall of sound. A more accessible approach can be found in the songs “This Is For My Brother the Wind” and “Rockers HiFi.” Here, Beans exhibits the lyricism and delivery he is well known for. His vocals mesh well with the more avant-garde tracks laid down by Shipp and Parker, whose previous collaborations have been primarily instrumental compositions.
Overall, the album has a loose and laid-back vibe, despite the virtuosity of the music. Take a look at this behind-the-scenes video of a recording session, which shows the general climate under which the album was recorded. Nothing better than a few music heavies having a good time and making great music.
Reviewed by Sebastian Ramirez