Friday, 28 August 2009

2006: Atlantis: Hymns for Disco

Being the first hip-hop album I really loved. I was introduced to this not long after it came out by my friend Omid, who lived in a student house with myself and four other young men at the time, each of distinctly questionable hygiene and industriousness. Omid and I were the two big music geeks in the house, and regularly took turns to burst into each other's rooms waxing lyrical about the latest thing we were all excited about (before settling down to the number one pastime of the modern undergraduate, Pro Evolution Soccer). Usually we liked what the other had to share. Tougher was finding something we could play communally that all six of us enjoyed, a goal that would have been reached much sooner if I hadn't been the stick-in-the-mud who insisted that Jamiroquai was, in fact, crap.

In the end it was Canadian rapper k-os' third long player, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco, that was the first to be met with unanimous praise. In a genre commercially saturated by hyper-produced superstars, regurgitating the same tired clich├ęs of guns, bitches and bling over Timbaland's ever-thinning beats, what appeals about Atlantis is its organic feel. There are few if any samples, most of the tracks are built around guitar riffs, and the whole thing is blessedly autotune-free. Best of all is that the album rewards repeated listenings, which seems contrary for such an instantly accessible album. For all this, and a man of Kevin Brereton's lyrical flow, skill, verbosity and intelligence, it is a continuing source of puzzlement that he remains relatively unknown outside of his native Canada.

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