Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: "Beak & Claw" by s/s/s

Beak & Claw was released March 20,2012 by Anticon Records
Many of you may have been as shocked as I was when, a little over two weeks ago, the blogosphere lit up with news that Sufjan Stevens, the master composer who has brought us opuses like the timeless Illinois and and neoclassical symphony The BQE, was working on a hip-hop record. Beak & Claw is a four song EP which sees Stevens collaborating with Chicago's avant-garde rapper Serengeti and Denver's Son Lux, whose production style defies classification but lies somewhere between trip hop and ambient electronica. The first single "Museum Day", which was available to stream when the EP was announced, was exactly as out-there as one would expect. The song opens with Sufjan crooning some kind of bizarre, autotuned new age poetry ("Make it right, make it right, energy") and slows to a sparse drumbeat layered with spacey synthesizers and Serengeti drops some stream-of-consciousness rhymes before the song builds back up to its hooky chorus, the psychedelic insanity of which would make Wayne Coyne jealous.