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    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Get it poppin' like epileptics on bubble wrap

    Photo by Bastian

    Listen up, because this is what the opening track to a hip-hop album should sound like. Never mind that it opens an exclusive 500-copy tour-only mix (yeah right, not these days), because El-P can't be stopped. He's a one-man sonic bulldozer. He's a killbot without an off-switch. He stomps out hard and fast on "Hoobity Blah," with enough bluster to back up his blistering productions. Sure, we've heard grotesque soundscapes like this before, on high points like "Smithereens (Stop Cryin')" and Cannibal Ox's "Ridiculoid," but the chaos still feels painfully relevant here. The drum machines crash down like riot gear on jawbones; the electronics spike and writhe like thousand-volt electrodes clamped to sensitive areas. And in a deft new touch, a jazzy High Water (Mark) piano line ebbs in and out like the last innocent bystander. It's Stravinsky's Peter and the Wolf by way of Hieronymous Bosch.

    El-P also rhymes viciously, attacking hard and often like a man with a vendetta. He sounds especially confident on "Hoobity Blah," wasting no time or breath. Or as he blithely asserts at one point, "I'm more than just confused; I'm an asshole." He definitely spits enough bile to make a convincing case, but I think another line comes closer to the truth. Toward the end of the track, he says, "I'm lovin' it, I'm lovin' it, I'm lovin' it" like a McDonald's jingle malfunctioning. And for all the vitriol, paranoia and bravado, he really does sound infatuated. For his decade-plus run in the rap game, he still sounds enchanted by the way his words fit together and his beats beat down all comers. From the first verse, from the first note, he sounds like he's found his place--wholly comfortable but never complacent.

    * MP3: "Hoobity Blah" - El-P from Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixx2!! [Buy other El-P]

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