Lord RAJA - A Constant Moth

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  • Rubies, Chester Raj Anand's 2013 debut for Ghostly International, presented the New York artist as another youngster sidling up to the crowded world of instrumental hip-hop. With exquisite arrangements and pleasing melodies, Rubies had promise but it stuck to a template that was arguably perfected years ago. That makes "Yelleo E," the first track on his new album, A Constant Moth, all the more startling, and not just because its rattling rhythm section sounds like it's trying to take the ceiling down. "Yelleo E" shows a new ingenuity, mixing up footwork and hip-hop for a rollercoaster ride that feels both frantic and serene. Anand's music always keeps a little extra breathing room, however, and it's those spaces that define A Constant Moth's jam-packed 35 minutes. A Constant Moth meanders between moods with the amble of so many instrumental hip-hop albums, but rather than brief sketches, his tracks are fully-realized songs. The one-two punch of "Darwin" and "TV Talk" offers some incredible drum work that escapes the kitchen-sink clink of Brainfeeder in favour of well-placed wallops, be they booming drums or sampled cash register dings. The powerful chords on "Van Go" feel like they're ripping up the carpet beneath the track, a sense of energy only heightened by rapper Jeremiah Jae's delirious delivery. The vocals are pitch-shifted just enough to sound vaguely hallucinatory, a feeling that Anand returns to over and over. Timesretched drums—a technique borrowed from jungle and perhaps best displayed on "Throw Them Out (System)"—are all over the record, to the point that the crude artefacts of the process become clever devices of their own. A few songs into the LP, it's easy to forget we're listening to the same artist. That, if anything, is A Constant Moth's only flaw. The album is so jarring that it takes a while to wrap your head around, and it can feel like Anand is still searching for something to tie his music together. What he does show on A Constant Moth is an uncanny skill for arranging percussion and a chameleonic ability to jump between ideas and still sound comfortable, qualities that should take this still-maturing producer far.
  • Tracklist
      01. Yelleo E 02. Van Go 03. Pistol Refix 04. Darwin 05. TV Talk 06. Gottfried Semper 07. Skyre 08. Throw Them Out (System) 09. De Lia Lu Lu 10. Red Su 11. Black Top 12. Golden Gravity Birds