Chris Daly teaches nude portraiture on weekends
Whether it was pop music critics in the early 80s or Nas in the mid-aughts, hip-hip’s death is a constant, premature evaluation of Mark Twain-like proportions. Every time the genre’s demise is predicted, some kids will pop up somewhere new, put their own imprint on the sound, and musical evolution progresses. When it comes to instrumental hip-hop for crate diggers, Lilacs & Champagne are here to carry the torch into tomorrow. On Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh, the duo of Emil Amos and Alex Hall invited Jay Clarke of Ash Black Buffalo fame and Zac Reno into their musical collective, and the left field results speak for themselves.
Utilizing “Eastern European private press psych records, obscure film soundtracks, indistinguishable radio broadcasts, library tapes, and who knows what else from who knows where else,” L&C venture as far from boom bap as possible. Instead, this is hip-hop for the heady, arguably more appropriate for headphone nodders than dance club aficionados. The vibe pulls the listener in, but it doesn’t necessarily invite break dancing so much as it does deep discussions debating the meaning of religion at 3 a.m. over bowls and blunts
While the tracks flow well from one to the next, each song individually branches out in its own direction. Opener “Roses & Kisses” is a relaxed, psychedelic groove, brushed drums and crystal clear keys leading the way for disembodied vocals and quiet storm sensibilities. “Made Flesh” increases the paranoid vibe, pitting pianos against stabbing guitar lines. The aptly named “Longjohn’s Lust” has that 70s porn feel that no self-respecting backpacking album should be without, while “All the Room” takes psych freakfest to new levels. “Case Closed!” has a distinct Ennio Morricone quality to it. “Dreaded Stranger” keeps the creepiness alive, and closer “On Hold” leaves the stage not with a mic drop, but with the fitting impression of the end of a rain storm, proving you don’t have to go out with a bang to make a statement.
In keeping with their obvious vibe, the L&C Crew have put together a video for “All The Room” that we’re premiere here today at Passion. Displaying a fondness for vintage porn not seen outside of Tobacco concerts (You’ll never be the same until you watch E.T. porn; that’s all I’m going to say about that), “All The Room” follows the voyeuristic journey of a man who clearly is the love child of Mike Brady and Andre the Giant as he creepily watches a chick in a hotel pool and then engages in a bit of “unique” breast examinations. Closing on a bit of Tao of Steve philosophy, the real message clearly is to check yourself for lumps by any means necessary. And that’s one to grow on.