KCSU Reviews

Apr 212004
Authors: Nate Harper

Artist: Madvillain

Album: Madvillainy

When famed west coast producer Madlib and esteemed underground

MC MF DOOM collaborate as Madvillain, mad villainy is sure to

follow. “Madvillainy,” the name of the recording, works to the

strengths of both artists, pairing Madlibs jazzy, sample-happy

beats with DOOM’s distinctive flow. For fans of contemporary

hip-hop acts such as eminem or Blackalicious the decidedly old

school pacing of MF DOOM’s flow might be a bit off putting. DOOM

has been in the rap scene for 15 years now and makes light of his

age several times on the album, as on Madvillainy’s first real cut

“Accordian” where he states, “I.C.E. cold/ Nice to be old.” So what

if he hasn’t changed his flow since 1992, the man in the iron mask,

pictured on the albums cover, still drops his share of lyrical gems

throughout the course of the album. On “Great Day Today,” he calls

himself, “The rocket scientist/ With the pocket wine list,” while

Madlib puts down a great beat using wandering keys and a nice snare

heavy drum line.

As the album unfolds and the ear gets more accustomed to DOOM’s

literal, baritone flow, a better appreciation of the production is

acquired. Madlib’s primary strength is in production and so the few

times that he raps as his alter ego Quasimoto are overshadowed by

his exemplary skill behind the boards. While “Accordian” and “Meat

Grinder” aptly show off Madlib’s sound, the highlight is the short,

just 2:10, “ALL CAPS,” where a nice descending piano riff is teamed

with a horn line from a ’70s kung-fu movie to produce sonic

brilliance. Fans of either MF DOOM or Madlib will find this album a

must, and for the casual fan, “Madvillainy” is the perfect album to

throw in when looking for a change of pace.

My Morning Jacket

Acoustic Cistuoca

by John Holland, assistant music director

Any true fan of music has been there. They go to a show and plan

on seeing a mediocre opening band but then find themselves being

blown away. They go to a party that happens to have a band playing

and rather than socializing with their friends, they end up being

completely sucked in by the performance on the makeshift stage. My

Morning Jacket’s Live EP is an attempt to capture that feeling and

immortalize it. “Acoustic Cistuoca” is a taste of a performance

they gave at a friend’s Halloween party. The band themselves can’t

even explain why they decided to record the show but any fan of

music should be glad they did. It captures them at their very best.

Singer Jim James gives hints at David Gray, Rufus Wainwright, Evan

Dando and even James Taylor at times. The music is soft but not the

kind of thing you can ignore. The subtle reverb on the vocals and

acoustic guitars give it the feeling of an empty auditorium being

filled with music far too good for a sound check. Live albums are

hard to pull off but it’s the lack of trying to put out a live

album that makes this one special.

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