Demon Queen – Exorcise Tape album review

The LA electronic beat maker Tobacco has teamed up with Zackey Force Funk to make the tight outlandish sounds of Demon Queen. For anyone not familiar with Tobacco’s previous work, the creative sounds he laces into neo-industrial beat driven tracks seem to pull you in multiple directions at the same time, which can be a mind warping experience. Meanwhile, and unlike really any other rapper, Zackey Force Funk relies on his ability to croon, opting for a falsetto and soft-spoken delivery where other rappers typically boast with bravado. Tobacco is known for his work with Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a sort of obsession with analog electronic insturments, such as the vocoder and the Rhodes keyboard. He has also had a productive career as a solo act, releasing two full length albums and three EP’s in less than four years. With both his solo efforts and Demon Queen, he has notably taken a more experimental and slightly more adventurous approach to his music.

Dropping Demon Queen into your player starts off as a bold move on its own. At the first notion of effected vocals which lead us into the galactically heavy, 80’s style synthesizers of “Lamborghini Meltdown,” the adventure is already well underway. The sound is so fresh and futuristic, and crafted with such precision, it becomes infectious. Tobacco’s backing vocals in “Vodka” sounds like robotic, a theme in his solo work as well. Deep sub-synth bass ripple along the low end and Zackey Force Funk’s high pitched croons echo’s bounce along the track. Chuck Steak’s slow rapping guest spot on this track brings a nice new flavor to the mix.

The demonic party continues with hot and ominous bangers like “El Camino 2” and “Swoll Tongue.” The latter of the two featuring an onslaught of high end electronic madness. The breakdown regresses to vocals, keys and an obviously audible click track. Tobacco’s seems to be toying with the ideas, and the winning ones stick, a boldly creative approach not nearly prevalent enough in today’s music. The composition on “Swoll” proves to be very well rounded, with the melodic chorus likened to a valley between the synthetic mountains.

N8 No Face boasts “ten thousand push up’s before my breakfast-es” on the opening the “Demon Practice.” This two minute blast is in your face with no apologies. Playing the Demon Queen hype man, N8 No Face proves to pump up the distorted demonic beats to their fullest potential. “Love Hour Zero” is an excellent break from the madness. A ballad, really, the tune shows the versatility of the group. Effected acoustic guitar twangs over the pumping “80’s exercise tape” beat. The lead is reminiscent of a classic TV show introduction, in the best way possible.

The album’s first “single” is “Rude Boy,” a dynamic story about a dude shooting his gun off in the middle of a ripping party. Interlacing creative sounds own this beat, with an echoing lead creating waves over multiple effected keyboard riffs. N8 No Face comes in to explain the details with clarity. “Bad Route” has no guest spot which means Zackey Force Funk and Tobacco take turns telling the story; Zackey with light and extremely tasteful crooning, and Tobacco with his robot voice , use of samples, and tight, infectious synth leads. “Despise the Lie” is an awesome blast to wrap up the album, rounding out the cast of characters with an excellent guest spot from Isaiah Toothtaker. The song starts with his aggressive line “get these suckers the fuck up off of me.” This tune proves there are no weak tracks in this collection.

Quite possibly the most interesting album released this year, Demon Queen should certainly raise some brows with Exorcise Tape, in addition to confusion amongst innocent bystanders and, ultimately, the energy of the dance floor at the trendiest of underground clubs in LA, New York and elsewhere. Those bold enough to throw this demonic album in their players will be exposed to something completely new and totally wild. The use of guest spots was wise and absolutely enhances the final product. Mastermind Tobacco and compadre Zackey Force Funk should be commended for seeing this project through and approaching it with such open creativity, for what came out of it is devilishly good.

Tobacco – Exorcise Tape album review

The heading for this current review is misleading. Yeah, Tobacco is involved in this record, but an entity who goes by the name of ‘Zackey Force Funk’ is involved as well. The end result appears to be called Demon Queen. There are actually a number of guest musicians on this one, but Tobacco and Zackey are the primary dudes on this recording.

Not being all that intimately acquainted with Tobacco’s back catalogue, I dutifully cued up Spotify and took a trip through the weird, theoretically uninformed world of Tom Fec. It was definitely worth the journey, mostly because of the way it informed my understanding of how this new album/sonic mutation sits in relation.

Right off the bat, this recording is dirty, and I’m not talking about production. This is some straight up stripper music; sexual references drop like crazy, and I don’t honestly remember the last time I heard that many references to female genitalia, especially on the aptly named Puni Nani.

The music itself is some kind of electro-disco, with falsetto vocals that are swathed in a kind of detached cool, delivered over a highly electronic musical arrangement. Fec’s innate musicality shows through, as the ideas are nothing short of brilliant. The music teacher in me wonders what might happen if he got over his prejudice and embraced the science of tonal arrangement; the fact that that will probably never happen is fine, because it ultimately doesn’t matter. The upshot is that this album is a very ‘not for children’ sex romp replete with great musical ideas in the writing. It’s a highly worthwhile, and highly naughty, listen. Let it rock you.

Beans premieres new MP3 featuring Tunde Adebimpe w/ production by In Flagranti Guests on new album, End It All also include Four Tet, Tobacco, Nobody, Clark, Son Lux, members of Interpol & Tortoise

Beans premieres new MP3 featuring Tunde Adebimpe w/ production by In Flagranti Guests on new album, End It All also include Four Tet, Tobacco, Nobody, Clark, Son Lux, members of Interpol & Tortoise

MP3: “Mellow You Out” ft. Tunde Adebimpe

MP3: “Deathsweater” (Produced by DJ Nobody)

This collaboration track from Beans, featuring guest vocals by Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio, and production by In Flagranti, is just a taste of the new Beans LP, End It All, on which Beans collaborated with different guest producers on every single track. You can watch Beans in conversation with Vernon Reid of Living Color about the new record here and his recent chat with the Village Voice here.

Bio:
When it came time to craft his fourth album, Brooklyn-based rap rebel Beans needed to get out of his head. His old group, the legendary left-fielders Anti-Pop Consortium, had reunited and he’d been devoting his energy to their long-awaited fifth LP, Flourescent Black. His last solo record, Thorns, was bittersweet-one of his greatest works to date, but an exercise in raw, exhausting emotion. For a minute, he even considered calling it quits.

Thankfully, Beans went a different route. He titled his new record End It All-a make it or break it promise-and looked outside his window for inspiration. What he saw is now the meat of his Anticon Records debut: lush, darkly tinted soundscapes from some of the most inspired names in contemporary production-Four Tet, Clark, TOBACCO, Bumps, Son Lux, Interpol’s Sam Fog-united by the inimitable flow and reborn swagger of Beans.

End It All is the first Beans album to feature all guest production, and it finds the emcee pushing his distinct staccato rhyme style to new heights across a varied but fluid buildup of beats. The biggest challenge, and perhaps the best results, comes from “Blue Movie,” a Son Lux original that trades in lush orchestral bursts and fuzzy drum pileups. The maximal style is a good look for Beans, who rides the unmistakable wobbly bass and live clatter of Sam Fog’s “Electric Bitch” with effortless aplomb.

Lyrically speaking, Beans is at his fiercest, spitting highly stylized braggadocio (see the Nobody-produced “Deathsweater” or Clark’s “Hunter”) and noirish narratives in turn. A ravenous consumer of mystery novels, his favorite pastime comes to life in the character study found on Four Tet’s rapid-fire banger, “Anvil Falling,” and in the black imagery that fittingly accompanies TOBACCO’s “Glass Coffins.” Meanwhile, Beans is at his polyrhythmic best delivering a single track-length verse over “Electric Eliminator,” produced by Bumps (Tortoise’s drum section).

Aggressive until the end, End It All burns through 13 tracks in 33 minutes, with Beans barely stopping to breathe. There is one exception though, the appropriately titled “Mellow You Out.” Here, Beans slows his roll as his own words move in and out of the eerie vocals of TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. The late-album track is an obvious highlight, but more importantly, proof that Beans is as versatile as he is a true original-making him more dangerous than ever.

BEANS

1/15/11 The Getdown / Happy Ending, New York, NY (Event hosted by Beans)
1/26/11 The Barn, Los Angeles, CA
2/16/11 Santo’s, New York, NY
2/18/11 Subterranean, Chicago, IL
2/22/11 Doug Fir, Portland, OR
2/23/11 Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
3/11/11 35 Conferette Festival, Denton, TX
3/16 – 3/19 SXSW, Austin, TX

Beans
End It All
(Anticon)
Street Date: Feb. 15, 2011

Track List:

1. Superstar Destroyer (Produced by Ade Firth)
2. Deathsweater (Produced by DJ Nobody)
3. Glue Traps (Produced by Four Tet)
4. Electric Eliminator (Produced by Bumps/members of Tortoise)
5. Electric Bitch (Produced by Sam Fog of Interpol)
6. Glass Coffins (Produced by Tobacco)
7. Blue Movie (Produced by Son Lux)
8. Mellow You Out ft. Tunde Adebimpe
(Produced by In Flagranti)
9. Air Is Free (Produced by In Flagranti)
10. Forever Living Fresh (Produced by That Kid Prolific)
11. Anvil Falling (Produced by Four Tet)
12. Hardliner (Produced by Fred Bigot)
13. Hunter (Produced by Clark)