Artist: Andrew Octopus
Album: Time Travel Is Possible
Label: Low Budget
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
“What has this got to do with Hiphop?” you ask. Well, since Andy is my man, and he reps the alt.rap newsgroup hard, I promised him I’d check out his stuff. Lets get this straight from the get go though, this is some crazy stuff – its so far off the beaten path that finding your way back to ‘Normalsville’ will be a major feat. But hey, the man’s a genius, what can I say. Play with it.
As his site explains, Andy is “a very paranoid individual who lives in the mountains of western North Carolina with a cat named Cuddles. He does artistic experiments in many media…” and is influenced by artists like Salvador Dali, Picasso, and Wu-Tang Clan. (What? You don’t think Ol’ Dirty is artful, muhfucka?)
From the cluttered cover art to the jumbled inlay cover, from the plethora of tracks that start and stop with stuttering regularity to Andrew’s own static-filled mumblings throughout – EVERYTHING points to the fact that my man has a lot on his mind. “Time Travel Is Possible” is the testament of a man with a myriad of conflicting thoughts and emotions that spill onto cd, in many forms.
Despite the ‘bugged out’-ness of the whole project, there’s a distinct core of Hiphop meshing a lot of the material together in a lot of places (although its more like the experimental cut and paste work of Steinski, than anything coming out of the BX or BK boroughs.) ‘Organic’ is an instrumental work, featuring an almost standard breakbeat at its core, while ‘Body’ begins with a snippet of ‘Triumph’ before giving way to a flurry of beeps and bips. ‘Revenge of the Preschool Computer Hackers’ is comparable to classic material from the Orb or Aphex Twin, with its swirling synths and sirens, and its eerie staggered speech samples. ‘Crystal Methamphetamine Jesus’ meanwhile features Andrew flipping backwards samples and random percussion as he delivers some next-level lyrics…
Andrew’s material is both inspiring and disturbing at the same time – ‘Walk’ features an incredibly literate set of verses, but the deadpan way in which they’re delivered and then drowned out by tape hiss and static is more than a little uncomfortable. ‘Sudanese Hackers’ meanwhile sets a stuttery Chuck D sample over some primitive beats, as Andrew again spits some more off the wall shit…
“DJs explore these new musical objects
Which hatch their own remix depending on context
Hands suddenly subvert the mind
And language based ideas of time.”
I told you this was some next-level shit.
In other places though, despite being aware that much of this stuff is over even my vastly-more-intelligent-that-you head, some material just sounds like… well… random sounds and noises. Tracks like ‘Neurotransmissionary Position’ and ‘All Recordings’ comprise of little more than static, and chopped up radio and TV speeches. Shit, maybe they’re meant to, and I’m just missing the point (in fact I know I’m missing the point), but it has to be pointed out that the average listener may get lost on the journey inside Andrew’s particular stream of conciousness. No – they WILL get lost! But, dammit, maybe that’s what he wants.
Like I said before – this cat is a genius. Miles ahead of me or you in terms of his thinking, his art, and his way of life… and still he chats to me courteously on AIM every time I see him. Hit up his website. Email him. Buy his music and paintings. Get on the next level, without even realising you’re ON the next level.