Stig of the dump (ft. The Sebutones) Still Alive at the Veglia Lounge
Whether creating music as The Sebutones or working as solo artists, The
odd couple of buck 65 and sixtoo have tended to maintain a reputation for being paragons of musical self-sufficiency. There are many fans and critics who have suggested that Buck65 and Sixtoo are far better beatsmiths and producers than they are emcees and lyricists and that it’s for their beats that they will be remembered. Indeed, I do tend to enjoy Sixtoo’s work for Braille, Sage Francis et al more than his own solo material. Still, in those rare instances when production and beatwork is delegated by one or both of the Sebutones to other outfits such as The Molemen or Jel, the outcome is always grand. This time around, The Sebutones have enlisted the talents of Canadian electronica artist Stig of the Dump to provide the soundscapes for their curtain-call.
Let’s get the gripes out the way first and then move onto the goodies second. The EP is attributed to “Stig of the dump (featuring the Sebutones) right? Well in actuality, there is only one true Sebutones track, a solo Buck 65 cut, two Sixtoo tracks and an instrumental. Given how the Sebutones’ last full-length outing was in 1999, it is disappointing that this reunion is so short-lived. Now, may be it’s the equipment he used to compose the EP or the fact that my preview CDR is copied from vinyl that gives rise to my second criticism. Nonetheless, tracks seem to involve stuff being crammed into the middle and low frequencies with not very much treble. This makes the production sound flat and at times murky which mars the project for me. The tracks begin with really degraded excerpts from the film interpretation of 1984. The first time this happens it kinda fits with the hallucinogenic vibe of the EP but it seems a crude and unoriginal way to convey a dreamlike atmosphere…
This foggy dream sequence begins with the haunting Buck65 solo cut Five Dollar Jesus. Here Buck65 assumes the guise of a disembodied voice wafting over the track’s Oppressive insidious synth bass and heavy drums. During this eerie observation of a broken man waiting for the alphabeti spaghetti to cook and for the grim reaper to turn up, Buck’s closing revelation “and I am nobody!” Is like someone tried to phone the Samaritans but got a crossline with the recording angel processing his latest booking. A man of many voices, this EP finds Buck65 shelving the Dr Octagon nasal voice or his old man whisper in favour of compressed and distorted growls. This makes him sound gruff and breathy and a lot more like Awol one than Kool Keith..
as Buck65’s aesthetic moves more toward break layering and Sixtoo’s style is evermore concerned with fastidious drum-programming, if this EP is anything to go on, Stig’s production seems more suited to the direction in which the latter is headed. Sixtoo is one of those artists who I would not normally make an effort to seek out but when I am provided with some of his work, I am rarely if ever disappointed. The tracks, Garbage Rain and Short Strings Are more of the same really. Sixtoo serves up two more unnerving monologues during which he surveys the architecture of his ego over gritty drum’n’bass….
Following the rise and crashing fall of confessionalist hiphop, artists like MF Grimm, Sage Francis and now The Sebutones represent a brave new wave where confession has become contrition and atonement. The only actual Sebutones effort, Pointing Fingers, details, with refreshing candour, the acknowledgement of a growing rift between the lifestyles of the straight-edge Buck65 and the more pharmaceutically enhanced habits of Sixtoo following a car accident for which Buck65 accepts much of the responsibility. The track’s production is subtle with interesting mutations going on in the mid and low frequencies thanks to the bass work of a member of Sonic Sum.
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