Fake Four, Inc
If you ask me to review an album by Grayskul, I am going to say, “Yes,” especially if that album features Aesop Rock, Raekwon, DJ Spark and other fairly awesome contributors. Especially also if it is called Zenith and arrived September 17th to relieve a relative drought of exceptional releases.
Finally, an album opener from an indie Hip-Hop collective faction that just gets down to business. I’ve grown tired of the obligatory 45 second shout out to everyone’s own awesomeness occupying the number one spot. What if people greeted each other that way? No one would ever talk to anyone. Maybe it is all the doom and gloom (well, mostly just gloom) in the Pacific Northwest, but “Zenith,” featuring Raekwon doesn’t waste any time.
“Come On,” featuring D.J. Spark epitomizes the futuristic sci-fi feel for which Grayskul gets noticed. MTV Hive got it close to right when it reported, “It sounds like much of Grayskul’s new album Zenith was recorded 50 years from now in a spaceship littered with synthesizers.” Except that Zenith actually sounds like music from 20 years ago was recorded 500 years from now (conservatively taking into account space travel delays caused by the current government shutdown) in a spaceship littered with synthesizers. And old school Nintendos. And Beastie Boys that have ascended a la Stargate.
“The Gift,” featuring Reva DeVito is gorgeous. With this song, Grayskul is most certainly “poking holes in the overcast,” with a flutter of nonstop positive messages, such as, “Just keep your eyes on the prize, and everything will subside.”
“I Adapt,” featuring Solillaquists (of Sound & NyQwil) is a bit darker. Check it out for harmonies and beats laid out haunted house style, with twists and horrors at every turn. Kick it old school for a few seconds on “My Goodness,” before it fasts forwards to simple percussion and less simple rhymes.
Get ready to dance when you hear “Wide Awake,” featuring Themes & David Lincoln Mann. I have a feeling clubs will see this one in heavy circulation, or at least they should. There is much to offer in terms of tempo, and it would be easily remixed in about a thousand ways.
Look out for another killer use of female vocals presenting itself on “There Is No Edge,” featuring Ali Baker. Grayskul is nothing if not astute at picking collaborators that are both excellent in their own right and a great complement to Zenith, as further evidenced on “Not Going Anywhere,” featuring Aesop Rock.
Remind me again why I’ve neglected the Pacific Northwest. Grayskul’s Zenith is strikingly excellent and worthy of much praise, from its start to “Merry Days,” Zenith’s glorious, grateful finish. Thank you, Grayskul. I’m grateful, too.