@Peace and the Plutonian Noise Symphony
It’s a great feeling when you write off a band – as I did with @Peace’s Valentine’s Day folly/EP and then they came back and kick your arse – as they’ve done here with new album, @Peace and the Plutonian Noise Symphony. You see, I loved that very first album; still do – and I still can’t get on board with the Girl Songs EP – went back to it after hearing this new one, doesn’t do it for me. Of course there are people that will be hooked on everything this group does, there are perhaps others that loved the Girl Songs and can’t get excited about this album – sure. That happens. But to me, Plutonian Noise Symphony is the real step up; it’s what I hoped for after hearing that debut album. It’s where I wanted this band to go – it’s what I thought they had in them.
And then it’s so much more too. Because I can’t claim to have predicted this – or that this would be so good. But it’s met my expectations, surpassed them even.
I still hear all of the things I want to hear – hints of A Tribe Called Quest and Madlib’s Quasimoto character and Black Album Prince and the innate jazziness (which seemed, somehow, shelved for Girl Songs.
I can also hear a lot of production work – a lot of ideas – from the very talented Christoph El’ Truento – the tonalities, the pitch-shifts and bends and dips so similar to his stunning work on recent solo effort, A series of oopsie daisies and various other flora.
That’s the real masterstroke of this album – to me. And that which gives it the otherworldly quality to fit with the subject matter, a hip-hop album that’s – seemingly – not of this earth, that’s been created in and of another dimension; that seems to take Q-Tip’s Kamaal/The Abstract album as a starting point – and then blasts off in any direction but earthbound, featuring bold, strange and wonderful mini-epics like the 10-minute Made, close enough to bursting full with an album’s worth of ideas in that one track, elsewhere the cool-charm, slow-flow groove of Gravity is a highlight as hi-hats sizzle in and around the fast framing of lyrical ideas. It’s dangerously close to cartoon voicings without ever feeling irritating, always on the right side of innovative.
@Peace has managed something quite stunning here – because this doesn’t feel like sitting down with an album so much as it does a book or movie; something to return to, finding new feelings, new moods each time. It might not – quite – be the band’s masterwork, but they’re so well on the way…