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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 69 - 05/26/02

Antipop Consortium
Arrhythmia
Warp

The exact point when I contemplated the latest Antipop joint on a neighborhood walk, something odd happened. Even though I was heading due east in my trajectory, I somehow wound up further south and facing west, curving back towards my original coordinates of (0,0). It was an almost-recognizable neighborhood, save the bass was bubbling loud out the cars, there were more trash patterns, glinting glass broken, and the walls had faint black lines of sprayed names blown past, replicas on the silly-putty of bricks. Just the thought of Arrhythmia warped me to a 'hood, almost the same, but stretched and discombobulated enough, to where infectious head-bobs bounced the perceptions, the whole frame wobbling as I walked. Once movement is not in a straight line, no longer do the strict laws of physics apply. Shit's up for grabs, the rational and irrational in flux. "Schemes are not always what they seem." So it's crucial that Saayid, Beans, Blaize, and Priest are on point from the start ("Zero" they shout in unison), coming with all the irrational numbers they can calculate, like 0.69873654..., 1.41421356..., 1.7320508..., et cetera, in glorious binary thumps and tweaks, even jamming little noises between the normal track numbers. They seem to be the only cats in the world who understand that true lines need the real and irregular numbers to exist, and that graphs of irrational numbers hit no exact point ("You can't hit what you can't see"), but course through space without reference.

But being so used to their glorious past of always being on the other side of the phantom subway token tollbooth platform of Hip-Hop, in-between the tracks, the third rail opened, it's kind of weird that this time round there are whole numbers graphed on the underground tile-grids: rhymes about shoes, clothes, popping Perrier bottles, and even the street life above their heads. And on those streets (Atlantic Ave? Grand? Broome? Berry? Wooster?) shit is never in a Cartesian graph, but always nearly falling askew or shaking what has been passed from generation to generation, one point to another, namely THAT ASS that your momma gave you!

The beat that goes on is always on on the streets, at busy intersections, at all points. Oodles and oodles of "oh shit!" beats. Timbales, tangerines dropping and splat at the bodega, caddies bouncing over potholes beats, Swiss cheese speeded-out beats, handclaps, flickering glitches, even ping-pong balls at the Men's Club, their doors open in the Silver Heat of the day, all these beats (rhythmic and not) that they got this time round, a veritable Saturday street market's worth, when the sun's whole at its apex. All these beats sticking to 'em, like silly putty to newsprint off the street, like flies to the neck. Hot hot hot, these new cardiac beats of theirs, their lips melt and wax all over it, like putty at play.

But is it Album of the Summer? Nah, totally fucking melts halfway through, like the middle of traffic under the sun, shriveling, away from the underground's dark, the cars rippling, trapped, in the noon light's hallucinated movement. Like when the pills just start to kick in, and all is mirage, warping like tapes on the dash. Slows down to a complete halt. Stifling heat, no movement. Mouth gets all barren and parched.

Not that the throats are dry. In fact, the voices of Antipop are very wet, Gatorade refreshing, multi-dimensional saliva and drips, mutating from words to glottal noise, goobers back into bent spoonerisms, street preaching, skittles and mumbles, or scatted spittle, "hello hello," hawked opera, commercials, vocoder strands at the mouth's corner, radio call-ins, car honks; every utterance can be found on their taffy-pulled lips. Oh, and let's not forget the grioty grids of Tron Man. There are new classics to be found in the sound, but the exhilarating, heart-pounding hot giddiness of the first half cools out a great deal, and overall, things really wind up slightly over-average, no one set theory of numbers outweighing the others. It takes the x4 chant of "Human Shield" to put the force field bubble back to full power with its perfect sphere, as there is never a straight subway-line trip with APC.

Copyright © 2002 Andy Beta e-mail address

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